Virginia has one of the top financial education programs for high schoolers in the nation, a recent national study reports.

The study, called the National Report Card on Efforts to Improve Financial Literacy in High Schools was produced by Champlain College's Center for Financial Literacy and graded each state on an A-F scale. Virginia was one of just seven states to receive an A.

"Young people must be equipped to make smart choices as they prepare to navigate increasingly complex markets and financial systems,"

Virginia Secretary of Education Laura Fornash said in a press release. "Virginia's A for financial literacy shows that the commonwealth's public schools — in partnership with a long list of private sector partners — are leading the way."

Virginia was joined by Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee and Utah in receiving A grades. Thirteen states received Bs, eight states received Cs, 11 states received Ds and 11 states received Fs.

The study reviewed financial literacy legislation summaries maintained by the National Conference of State Legislatures from 1999 to 2012 with data from the Jump$tart Coalition on Personal Finance Literacy and data from the Council for Economic Education's 2011 state survey.

Schools that received an A grade required a standalone personal finance course or had finance taught as a part of another course. Additionally, the courses required some sort of final assessment. Conversely, schools that earned Fs had no state-level financial studies requirements, though the study did note that some school districts in a failing state could require financial education.

In 2009, the Virginia Board of Education voted to require a one-credit course in economics and personal finance in order to graduate. Incoming freshman in the 2011-2012 (class of 2015) are the first group of students to have this requirement. The course includes lessons on banking, credit and money management, among other finance topics.

"The global economic downturn a few years ago confirmed the need for students to understand how markets operate," Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said in a press release. "In taking this course, graduates receive knowledge to help them manage their money and become better consumers, savers, investors, entrepreneurs and active citizens in our global economy."

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