Pro: Budget

Four-oh-one que? Bonds aren’t just a topic in chemistry.

It seems like the extent of most young people’s knowledge of personal finance is that payday is every other Friday, and if I complete my taxes by mid-April, I will get free money from the government.

A personal finance course should be mandatory for the completion of a college degree to teach students how to save, invest, and responsibly spend money.

Only 17 states mandate that students take a personal finance course in high school, according to CNBC.

About 44.2 million Americans have outstanding student loan debt, according to MarketWatch.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to add those two facts together and determine that, by subtracting financial education from the curriculum, debt multiplies through the nation.

In the LACCD / UC / CSU system, we are required to take about 40 units to fulfill general prerequisites. These classes are meant to provide us with a well-rounded education that exposes us to different ideas and disciplines.

My professor calls them “cocktail classes.”

Sure, I can recite lines from Shakespeare to describe my depression. And I will forever know that a sponge spicule looks like the Mercedes-Benz logo, but what does that matter if my $10,000 debt and my nonexistent credit prevents me from leasing such a car?

IGETC and the CSU Breadth have no financial requirement except that someone must pay for the classes.

Eight in 10 Americans have some type of debt, according to CNBC. Nationwide, about 30 percent have debt sent to collections, according to the Washington Post.

Predatory loans and the absurd cost of college (read: not free) are a large part of the problem.

At the very least, an institution should provide college students with knowledge to manage their finances if it isn’t going to stop being one of the primary sources of Americans’ debt.

Student loan debt is only just behind mortgage debt. According to Time, it exceeded credit card debt and auto loans when it passed the $1 trillion mark in 2012.

Fifty percent of students graduate with debt.

It’s no wonder that an embarrassingly large percentage of Americans have personal finance issues at several points in their lives.

A personal finance class would teach students about loans and interest rates, insurance, how to build credit, save money for an emergency, and other things I can’t list because I wasn’t taught financing throughout my public education.

Predatory loan sharks are detestable for going after the financially ignorant, but the root of the problem is inadequate financial education.

Shakespeare’s Polonius once said, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” and that’s about as much financial education that I’ve received in college.