When it was formally announced that an online personal finance course would become a graduation requirement for the class of 2016 and onwards, a virtual groan could be heard from the students at Granite Bay High.
Parents, however, believed that the course was much needed and would provide their children with the necessary knowledge to manage their finances in the future.
The course was first implemented in the fall of 2015 for the seniors in the class of 2016 to complete by the end of their senior year.
Now, the course is made available to students at the beginning of their junior year and is required to be completed by mid-April of their senior year, giving students roughly a year and a half to fulfill the requirement.
If students do not finish the course, they risk not being able to graduate and missing numerous senior events, such as Senior Ball and the senior picnic.
Although 18 months seems like plenty of time, many students still find themselves in the spring of their senior year without having completed the requirement.
“I haven’t started because I’ve been trying to be more social my senior year since I have been a hard-working student all of my high school career,” senior Diana Garcia said. “I’m also really lazy since it’s online. I have no motivation whatsoever and always make up an excuse not to start it.”
Others, like senior Jay Kumar, decided to keep their last semester of high school more relaxed. Kumar finished the course the summer after his junior year.
Although procrastination is a common occurrence among teenagers, many students have put off finishing the course simply because they do not have enough time in their busy schedules.
Although the course takes extra time outside of school, Kumar said he believes some of the information is valuable enough for students to invest their time in it.
“It’s not stuff that most of us generally know,” Kumar said. “A lot of it was about debt and credit and some of us don’t even have (debit or credit cards) yet. We’re all going to college now, so it’s even more important to … know how to use them.”
The remaining information, Kumar argues, is not relevant to students.
“It’s talking about real estate (at the beginning of the course),” Kumar said. “Why would we need to know that at this age?”
Senior Emily Franklin said she could have learned the information in the future and did not need to take the course at all.
“I’m sure I would have (learned the information) at some point in my life,” Franklin said. “I feel like they would make me take something like that in college.”
The personal finance course is required to be completed in order for seniors to attend senior ball in May. If they do not finish by the mid-April deadline, they will not be permitted to purchase tickets for the event.
Because of this requirement, some critics said seniors are not actually absorbing the information and instead are simply rushing through it in order to fulfill the requirement for senior activities.
“They’re not spending time on it at all,” Kumar said. “Plus, there’s a cheat – you just search up the answers online.”
Garcia said those who have put the course off until the spring semester of their senior year are not going to get much out of the course.
“I don’t think at this point I will (get anything out of it) because I’m dreading it so much,” Garcia said. “That’s obviously not the school’s fault, because I’m deciding to not get anything out of it.”
Franklin said GBHS shouldn’t keep the course as a graduation requirement since it is an extra time commitment for students, and students don’t seem to benefit much from the course.
“It’s really annoying to be already taking as many classes as you are, doing all the activities you are outside of school and then on top of that, (having) to do another online class,” Franklin said. “If they really need it as a graduation requirement, they should have it at the school.”