By Wyatt Crosher, Communications Coordinator for Student Affairs
In 2019, House Bill 924 was signed into law in North Carolina, creating a graduation requirement for high school students in economics and personal finance.
With the bill taking effect, UNC Charlotte partnered with the North Carolina Council on Economic Education (NCCEE) to train and certify high school teachers in the newly required economics and personal finance (EPF) field.
“It felt like a natural fit for us,” Dr. Brad Yeckley, director of Niner Finances, said. "There are now a little over 125 teachers who are now out there doing the work based on the curriculum and training that we developed.”
The trainings offered by the University consisted of 40 hours of professional development, during which teachers received training on both the state standards for content and on how to best teach the standards of the EPF course.
Sandy Wheat, executive director at the NCCEE, said the partnership has worked well for all involved, not just for empowering teachers to be able to spread the information to students, but also for the teachers themselves.
“With the help of Niner Finances, NCCEE has provided teachers with resources that will ensure that their students have the knowledge and skills to make wise decisions that will improve the lives of themselves, their families and their communities,” Wheat said. “Not only are teachers learning how to serve their students better, they are also learning to make wise decisions for themselves; 95 percent have reported they will save more for retirement and pay down unsecured debt. The work we do takes a village, and we are so pleased that Niner Finances is a member of our village.”
House Bill 924 applies to all high school students starting with those graduating in 2024. Yeckley said any course that high school students can take on personal finance is a good step, but there are ways to teach it to make that information stick past their teenage years.
"There are two words to the term 'personal finance': There's finance, nuts and bolts math. Then there's personal: lived experience, values, motivations, desires, dreams, goals, passions," Yeckley said. "I think the high school requirement is a great foundational piece for what we are trying to accomplish."
The University will continue to work with NCCEE as more teachers need to be trained and certified, and Yeckley said they work perfectly within the University’s Strategic Plan, which emphasizes working within the Charlotte community and Shaping What’s Next for students.
Beyond that, Yeckley believes training these teachers on how to properly teach the EPF requirement is something that benefits all parties involved.
"It is quite literally the rare triple win,” Yeckley said. “The individual benefits, the institution benefits with better retention, academics and graduation rates, and the community also benefits as a whole because people learn how to buy homes and raise families and give back to the community from this education."