Educator Toolbox

TXGU Activity: Paying for College


Created By:
 Texas GEAR UP

Grade Level: 11th

Introduction for Educators: As 11th-graders, possibilities are beginning to open up for your students. They may begin to drive, go on dates, and think seriously about college. One of the biggest of these possibilities is getting a job. While many of your students may begin to make money, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll use that money well. Now is the time to begin to working through their personal finances and set some money aside for college. This, combined with scholarships and grants, will help make college attainable.

Introduction for Students: In the United States, one of the biggest political arguments is about how to "balance the budget."

Our government spends a lot of time disagreeing about what we should fund and what we should cut. When it comes to your own budget, it should be a lot easier. If you make funding college one of your top priorities, no one will disagree with you.

The Activity: Take a shot at creating a budget that will last you through college.

Pick one of the colleges you’re considering. Use the information you can find on their website and through their admissions office to answer the following questions:

  • What are the fixed expenses for going to this school? (These might include tuition and housing.)
  • What are the variable expenses for attending this school? (This could include books, housing, and food.)
  • If you choose to work during your time at school, how much money could you make?
  • How much money would you like to have saved up (including accrued interest) by the time you begin college? What will you spend it on?
  • What taxes will you have to pay during your time in college?

Budgets are hard work. But if you set a specific goal—and refuse to move from it—you’ll be able to pay for college.