Gov. McDonnell Signs Legislation Protecting New Financial Literacy Graduation Requirement

Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed legislation (HB1554 and SB810) that protects Virginia’s financial literacy high school graduation requirement. Thanks to support from the Governor, policymakers and many organizations from the public and private sectors, the new one-credit course in economics and personal finance will become reality beginning with students entering ninth grade this fall.

Virginia’s leaders in education developed the course to address daunting statistics and research that show students are leaving high school without the basic money management skills needed to survive in today’s economy. In recent years, nearly 20 states have added financial education requirements to their school curriculums. Now, Virginia has joined a growing list of states that have implemented a standalone course for high school graduation.

In a support letter for the course in January, Gov. McDonnell said: “The recent financial crisis put a strain on everyone, from family budgets to small businesses and large corporations. It is now abundantly clear that Virginians need to equip themselves and our children with an understanding of how our economy works and effective money management skills.”

He added: “To meet this goal, beginning with the students who enter the ninth grade in 2011, all students must earn a credit in economics and personal finance to graduate from high school. Students will be reliant on well-prepared teachers to lead them through this course so that they graduate economically and financially literate. This initiative will afford our students with greater opportunities and will help prepare them to be the future leaders of our Commonwealth and country.”

The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) as well as numerous other organizations statewide have been advocating for this critical educational requirement for five years. In 2009, the Virginia Board of Education (VBOE) approved the one-credit course in economics and personal finance as a requirement for high school graduation. The course was initially slated to begin in 2010, but lawmakers placed a one year delay on all new requirements in last year’s legislative session. The new course will now begin this fall as a graduation requirement for all standard and advanced diplomas. Virginia’s ninth-graders will have until they graduate to complete the one-credit course.

“This year school districts throughout the Commonwealth will begin the process of implementing a financial literacy course for all high school students,” Bradford R. Jones, CPA, chair of the VSCPA Board of Directors, said. “Financial literacy is an essential life skill in our complex 21st-century world and I am incredibly proud of the efforts of the VSCPA, its staff and the entire CPA community in Virginia for tirelessly and unwaveringly leading on this most important issue.” 

Free teacher training is being offered by the Virginia Council on Economic Education through support of the VSCPA and others from the public and private sector.

For more information on the financial literacy graduation requirement, please visit the Virginia Department of Education website at or visit the VSCPA’s consumer website at

The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) is the leading professional association dedicated to enhancing the success of CPAs. Founded in 1909, the VSCPA has 10,000 members who work in public accounting, industry, government and education. For general information, please visit the Press Room on the VSCPA website at, e-mail or call (804) 612-9424. To search for a CPA in your geographic region, visit



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