If you have students entering their senior year in high school, help them get a good start on their plans for the future. Along with applying to colleges or other adult education programs they should also be figuring out how to pay for it all. De-mystifying the situation is incredibly important to your students’ future — its role in personal financial planning is an essential part of being a responsible adult.
A good place to start is WorldView’s Tutorial: Paying for College and Training, which is available in both Economics and Civics. It covers the basics of choosing a school, filling out the FAFSA, finding scholarships and grants, evaluating work-study programs and other means of earning tuition, comparing loan options, and differentiating between public, private, for-profit, and not-for-profit colleges and training programs.
These last two are particularly important, and teachers and other school administrators may not be aware of the differences themselves. This blind spot has allowed some institutions (like Corinthian Colleges) to prey on the eagerness of students to create careers, making a profit off of them while the students get stuck with undischargeable student loans. The tutorial contains helpful comparisons such as this:
The plans of presidential candidate contenders for debt-free college, etc., won’t help students unless they actually become policy. Until then, paying for higher education or vocational training is something for students to start planning for now, so they aren’t overwhelmed later – education debt reached $1.2 trillion in the first quarter of this year.
UPDATE: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a new webpage that includes information on banking and money managment as a college student.