LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — In 2019 Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill to make financial literacy a requirement for all high school students in North Carolina. For two students it has had a major impact on their lives.
Peyton Norman and Adolyn Rankin are both seniors at North Lincoln High School in Lincoln County. Two years ago they took a civics course that included financial literacy by Dave Ramsey. It taught them about budgeting, debt, life after high school, and retirement.
“All this stuff applies to me now that I have grown up and understood money,” Norman says. “It was worth learning.”
Norman says when he recently bought a car, he used cash instead of taking out a car loan. He also hopes to be debt-free after college.
“I am going to community college,” Norman says. “It is a whole lot cheaper. You get the same education.”
According to Educatedata.org, 52% of students who had taken out student loan debt did not feel it was worth it.
“Now I will have more money to spend on my needs, rather than college,” Norman says. “That will already be done and gone.”
Rankin got something else out of the course that has really stuck with her.
“Emergency funds, that was something I didn’t ever think about, like saving money for something that you wouldn’t expect to happen,” Rankin says.
Carolyn Prunier is one of the civics teachers at North Lincoln High School. She says this could empower young people to help reverse the direction of this country. Right now student loan debt in this America totals $1.71 trillion.
“If we are going to learn how to deal with the debt in this country, we have to do it at a level where kids are just beginning to learn how to save,” Prunier says. “I think it is useful. I think it is effective, and I truly believe it is necessary.”
Financial literacy is just one-fifth of the whole civics class right now. Next year it will be part of an economics course and will be 50% of the class.
“I am thrilled North Carolina has taken the initiative to do this,” Prunier says.
Currently, financial literacy is taught to sophomores. Next year it will be taught to juniors and seniors.
“This has taught me how to do taxes and investments,” Rankin says. “It taught me something I feel I will use one day.”