Paying for College Activities

INTERACTIVE: Payback (Sp)

In this activity students will:

  • Make real-time and realistic decisions to try to manage student debt
  • Experience the consequence for each decision they make on: focus, attention, happiness, and student debt

INTERACTIVE: 4-Year Plan for College (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Compare the prices of three colleges using Sallie Mae's College Planning Calculator
  • Learn about the different loans offered to students, as well as which one is the best fit
  • Available in English & Spanish

INTERACTIVE: How Much Will Your College Actually Cost?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Determine the difference between sticker price and net price for colleges
  • Analyze information from an interactive using a spreadsheet
  • Evaluate potential colleges based on their price comparison

INTERACTIVE: How Does Family Income Impact College-Going Rates?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Make predictions about who goes to college based on socioeconomic status
  • Compare their predictions with the predictions of others
  • Interpret the data in relation to their predictions

INTERACTIVE: Which Colleges Help Low Income Students the Most?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Use an interactive database to see which colleges offer the most aid
  • Import data into a spreadsheet to compare the colleges based on how they help low-income students
  • Evaluate college options based on the aid offered, student debt and caliber of school

INTERACTIVE: Earnings By College Major

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Investigate how a college education an impact your lifetime earnings
  • Compare different college majors to see their associated lifetime earnings
  • Interpret the graphs to understand how annual earnings change over time for different educational backgrounds

INTERACTIVE: Eight Questions to Ask Before Picking a College

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Take a quiz to uncover the factors they need to consider before choosing a college
  • Analyze the results of the quiz to start thinking about how they will finance their college choice

INTERACTIVE: How Does Public College Tuition Compare to Household Income in Your State?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Investigate the change in college tuition for colleges in their state
  • Research the possible reasons for this change
  • Compare the change in college tuition with the change in household income in the same state

ANALYZE: A Student Aid Report (SAR)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Look at an actual Student Aid Report (SAR).
  • Identify the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • Review the financial information included to help create a picture of a student’s aid package.

ANALYZE: Online Tools for Paying for College

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Work in groups to analyze a number of online tools they can use in their paying for college process
  • Present the tools they researched to their classmates
  • Identify which tools they are most likely to use when planning how to pay for college 

ANALYZE: Student Loan Decision Making (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the profiles of three students to help provide advice about what decisions they should make in terms of securing student loans to pay for college
  • Examine their financial aid offers, career goals, and college choices
  • Available in English & Spanish

ANALYZE: Student Loan Debt Crisis

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Watch a documentary, news series, or TED Talk regarding the student loan debt crisis in the US.
  • Complete a viewing guide with their “expert group."
  • Meet in groups to share their learning.

ANALYZE: Student Loan Repayment

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Estimate their total student loan debt
  • Use a Loan Repayment Calculator to compare their monthly payments using various repayment plans
  • Choose a repayment plan that best fits their needs and lifestyle

CALCULATE: What is the Value of a College Education?

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Calculate the value of a college education.
  • First, they will estimate it’s value. Then, they will use a chart from the Dept. of Labor to calculate the value (in career earnings) of different levels of education. Finally they will reflect on that value.

COMPARE: College Needs vs. Wants (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Assess college expenses as needs or wants and then discuss their decisions with a partner.

COMPARE: Comparison Shopping in College

In this activity students will be able to:

  • Use a decision matrix to compare options for common college purchases
  • Research the possible products online and organize their findings.

COMPARE: Non-Monetary Factors of Colleges

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Identify which non-monetary factors are important to them when comparing schools
  • Conduct research to compare non-monetary factors for three schools they are interested in
  • Understand the value of considering non-monetary factors when selecting a school to attend 

COMPARE: Sticker Price vs. Net Price

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Compare the difference between the Sticker Price of college and the Net Price to see what they will actually be required to pay for their education.

COMPARE: Understanding the Types of Student Loans (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Compare the different types of student loans.
  • This includes Federal vs Private loans, the different types of Federal Loans (Perkins, Stafford/Direct, and Direct Plus), and subsidized vs unsubsidized loans.

COMPARE: Which Repayment Option is Best? (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • take a variety of factors about individuals (salary, location and student loan debt)
  • use a student loan repayment calculator to preview their repayment options
  • determine which repayment option is best.
  • Available in English & Spanish

CREATE: Monthly College Budget (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:  

  • Make choices regarding income in college
  • Set aside money to pay yourself first in savings
  • Create a monthly budget to follow during freshman year
  • And then reflect on the process of budgeting.
  • Available in English & Spanish

CREATE: A College Budget Using Your Aid Award Letter

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Use their financial aid award letter to create a budget for their first term of college
  • Make financial decisions and see if they result in a surplus or deficit 
  • Analyze their decisions to understand what their financial priorities and values are

DISCUSS: Paying for College with Your Parents (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Learn how to introduce the subject of paying for college to their parents.
  • Create a joint action plan as to how to go about presenting.
  • Reflect on the conversation.
  • Available in English & Spanish

EXCEL: Three Students Budget & Unanticipated Changes

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Follow step-by-step directions and make decisions to complete a hypothetical monthly college budget using a spreadsheet
  • Reflect on their choices.

READ: Stories of Loan Repayment

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Compare real life student loan debt stories
  • Discuss options to have loan debt forgiven or canceled
  • Employ a variety of strategies to pay off student loans

RESEARCH: FAFSA Deadlines

In this activity, students will be able to: 

  • Research FAFSA deadlines at the college, state, and federal levels
  • Explain what the FAFSA verification process is and how to complete it 
  • Reflect on what skills they will need to to meet all FAFSA deadlines

RESEARCH: Finding Scholarships and Grants (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Find scholarships and grants to help them pay for college.
  • Identify personal characteristics that can make them candidates for specific scholarships.
  • Find scholarships using internet platforms.
  • Develop a “plan of attack” for securing grants/scholarships.
  • Available in English & Spanish

RESEARCH: Paying for College Vocabulary (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Complete a Web Quest to define key vocabulary terms in the process of applying to college and paying for it, including: University vs College, Bachelor’s vs Master’s Degrees, Public vs Private Colleges, and In-State vs Out-of-State Tuition.
  • Available in English & Spanish

RESEARCH: Salaries by Major

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Compare median salaries for different college majors they are interested in studying for a Bachelor's Degree
  • Understand the connection between the major they study and salaries they may earn in the future
  • Reflect on their findings

RESEARCH: What Should I Know Before Completing the FAFSA? (Sp)

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Complete a Web Quest to identify key personal and financial information students will need before completing the FAFSA.
  • Search for questions to ask before submitting their FAFSA to ensure it is completed fully and correctly.
  • Available in English & Spanish

ROLEPLAY: Peer Pressure Meets College Finances

In this activity, students will be able to:

  • Prepare for and engage in a role play as a college student making budgeting decisions withstanding peer pressure