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Costs of Education After High School 1 hour 30 min

  • Level 2

Additional Materials: Electronic Device(s) to Access Articles and Spreadsheet or Printouts, Student Handout (a), Student Handout (b)

For this activity, if you know of students who are NOT interested in postsecondary education (four-year university, community college, or trade/technical college), explain to them that postsecondary refers to any education following high school (i.e., bachelor’s degree, certifications) . Have students revisit the information from Unit 4 Lesson 2; review the “after high school” postsecondary options with them again. It’s important for students to complete this activity for financial planning purposes and to keep an open mind for their futures.

Note: You shouldn’t have to ask students what path they are taking; this should be something you have a good feel for based on all the information you have gathered via this class.

Costs of Education after high school

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Net Price vs. Sticker Price: Tell the class that in our country, every child receives a free public education through the 12th grade. After high school, however, most students who go to a four-year college or a trade/technical college program after high school pay for that education through either scholarships, cash, or student loans. Sometimes, students have to utilize a combination of all three to pay for the education. 

Have students read the What You’ll Actually Pay at 1,550 Colleges article. Follow up with the following prompts: 

In your own words, define the difference between net price and sticker price

Consider the last paragraph’s words, “On the other hand, he thinks students from wealthier families should broaden their search past prestige and look at what public schools have to offer. ‘Look at the completion rate, labor market outcomes — all those things. That’s what we need in higher-ed, students that are more value conscious.’” What has attracted you to specific schools? Will you consider other options? Why or why not? 

Your Postsecondary Plan: Introduce this activity by saying,

You will have the chance to compare the costs of attending three different schools of your choice. You will create a four-year plan for each school using a College Planning Calculator to determine the net price of each school, how much student debt you will have to take on, and what your monthly student loan payments will be after graduation. Based on comparison, you will select the school you would like to attend. 

Have students complete the worksheet. Link to the article for reference. 

Costs of Education after high school: your postsecondary plan

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