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Stewart: "Money course" could cost as little as $139K

Days after a coalition of bankers and economists called on Florida lawmakers to mandate a one-semester course in financial literacy, state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart issued a report saying the course could cost as little as $138,944 over five years.

To keep costs low, school systems would have to use free online software.

Districts could also opt to buy textbooks for each student enrolled in the course. But that would bump the price tag up to $12.9 million over five years, according to the report.

Mike Bell, executive director of the Florida Council for Economic Education, said the analysis proves that a so-called "money course" would be cost effective.

"This is going to be the best money the state will ever spend preparing students for the real world," Bell wrote in a statement. "We have the data -- students graduating with a required money course under their belt have less debt, more money to take healthy risks, and contribute more back into the economy."

Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers opted to integrate financial literacy principles into the state education standards. They asked Stewart to explore the costs creating of separate, one-half credit course dedicated entirely to the topic.

Experts got together to discuss the idea in August.
In the report, Stewart notes that 14 states, including New York and New Jersey, already require a stand-alone course in financial literacy.