Vermonters Endorse Personal Finance Education: Poll Finds Overwhelmingly Positive Support; Citizenship education is also important for residents

Contact person: John Pelletier
(802) 860-2744 [email protected]

January 17, 2023, Burlington, VTMore than nine out of ten Vermont residents believe that personal finance education is an important subject that should be taught in high school. This overwhelming finding stemmed from a nationwide poll of 541 voters this month conducted by Public policy opinion poll for the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College.

John Pelletier, director of the center, notes that the poll shows that 93 percent of Vermont residents agree that a personal finance course should be offered in high school. Pelletier also notes that 88 percent of adults in Vermont believe that guaranteed access to a personal finance course for all Vermont high school students is urgently needed. But despite these views, few Vermont high school students currently have guaranteed high school access to a full semester course in personal finance before graduation.

Pelletier believes this survey data will help policymakers, legislators, the state board of education and the education agency make informed decisions regarding personal financial education in Vermont’s public schools.

“Personal financial education changes behavior in a positive way,” says Pelletier. “Research shows that high school students with this knowledge improve their own money management practices and share this learning with their families, resulting in improved parent knowledge, saving and spending behaviors.

He also notes that individual financial literacy leads to healthier household balance sheets, which in turn leads to a stronger state economy. And these kinds of studies a show that employees who are money conscious are happier with and stay longer in their jobs.

Courtney Poquette, who teaches personal finance at Winooski High School, says she and her students believe this is the most important high school course for the rest of their lives.” Her former student David Klinker, now a student at Champlain College, agrees and wrote a comment piece in VT Digger outlines how the course completely changed his life.

Pelletier says there is a national movement to bring the subject to more high schools, as only 1 in 4 students nationwide currently have access to a guaranteed course.

Personal finances are also a matter of equity, says Pelletier. He points this out Study from 2022 by Next Gen Personal Finance, showing that in states that do not guarantee access to personal finance education, those arguably most in need of this training are the least likely to receive it. In these states, including Vermont, wealthy and less diverse high schools are about three times more likely to be guaranteed access to this education than very poor and very diverse high schools in our country.

On the upside, he notes that last year, six other states passed legislation guaranteeing a personal finance course, bringing the total number of states with such guarantees to 17. He also notes that another dozen states are expected to consider this change. in 2023, including Vermont.

In the state survey, 87 percent of respondents said personal financial education in high school was important and 12 percent said it was somewhat important. Ninety-three percent of respondents said a course in budgeting, investing, taxation, and savings should be offered in high school, while 83 percent thought the course should be guaranteed to all students.

Knowing that only 12 percent of Vermont high school students were guaranteed a personal finance course, 88 percent of respondents said a law requiring such a course is an urgent matter. Currently in Vermont, only Black River, Lamoille, Milton, Missisquoi, Spaulding, Vergennes, and Winooski high schools offer students guaranteed access to high school personal finance. BFA St. Albans plans to join this list of guaranteed entry high schools.

Champlain College is one of the few colleges that requires its on-campus undergraduate students to complete personal finance training as a graduation requirement. From college InSight program teaches students basic personal finance skills, including negotiating your salary (including benefits and evaluation of compensation packages), creating and following a budget, building credit, managing debt, investing your money, and more.

“Champlain equips his students with the life skills necessary to complement academic and career success,” said Olivia Vittitow, the InSight program manager. “Embedding four years of financial, personal and wellness-focused workshops, seminars and one-on-one coaching as part of our undergraduate requirements has led Champlain graduates to avoid student loan issues and enjoy financial stability after graduation.”

A bill calling for a citizenship course was introduced during the last session of the Vermont legislature, so the poll also included questions on this topic. Ninety-six percent of respondents believe a civics course — covering the Constitution and matters related to the U.S. government — is important, and 92 percent said such a course should be taught. Eighty-five percent of respondents believe that civics should be a guaranteed course.

Link to poll in Vermont:


About the Center for Financial Literacy: Founded in 2010, Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy (CFL) is designed to promote and develop financial literacy in individuals, enabling them to make better decisions about spending, credit, debt, investments, and complex financial situations such as buying of a house and save for your retirement. Nationally acclaimed for its efforts to increase our citizens’ personal financial literacy, the CFL has become the credible source for national media coverage of financial literacy.

About Champlain College: Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, non-profit private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional student experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and a broad portfolio of online degrees and certificates through Champlain College Online. The College is known for its distinctive and innovative approach to career-oriented education and its ‘reverse’ curriculum, which helps students: ‘Ready for Work. Ready for life. Ready to make a difference.” Champlain is ranked in multiple categories of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Colleges”, including Best Value Schools, Best Colleges in the North, Best Colleges for Veterans, and Top Performers on Social Mobility. Champlain was also listed as one of The Princeton Review’s “The Best 388 Colleges” in 2023 and was recognized as a 2022. College of Distinction for its “Engagement, Teaching, Community, and Outcomes.” For more information visit