Lesson Plan Guide: Top tips to reduce the cost of college

By Matt Andrews on July 17, 2014

TITLE: Top tips to reduce the cost of college

GRADE LEVELS: 9-12

CONTENT ​​AREAS: Advisory, Money Management, Career Exploration, Economics

 

GOALS:

• Students will increase their awareness and understanding of the multiple costs that constitute a college education and institution-to-institution differences in financial assistance provision

• Students will consider their individual financial situations and assess against financial requirements of various types of post-secondary institutions and types of aid available for possible good financial fits

OBJECTIVES:

• Students will consider all kinds of costs involved in the total price of a college education

• Students will perform activity that urges them to reflect on personal financial standing and compare to averaged financial demands of educational institutions and averaged aid amounts

ASCA STANDARDS ADDRESSED:

• C:A1.7 Understand the importance of planning

COMMON CORE STANDARDS ADDRESSED:

• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.1b Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.

• CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.

PRIOR KNOWLEDGE:

No specialized prior knowledge is necessary to complete this lesson.

The large-group simulation uses data from Texas and California. Instructors may connect more specific and detailed numbers closer to student interests with this table: http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/state-tuition-and-fees-state-and-sector-over-time

Here are helpful articles for instructors looking for more information: http://www.bls.gov/spotlight/2010/college/

https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/misc/trends/2014-trends-college-pricing-report-final.pdf

MATERIALS:

• Student Paths article “10 money-saving tips for high school and college” from Related articles

• Class set of Activity (REPRODUCIBLE B)

• Optional class set of Real Costs (REPRODUCIBLE C)

Optional student video on money-saving tips by Abby Anfinson, http://bit.ly/15oUdGP

LESSON OVERVIEW:

This lesson has three stages across a 30-minute class period.

• Anticipatory large-group discussion about college tuition (8 minutes)

• Reading and questions (10 minutes)

• Choose a Path Simulation (12 minutes)

ASSESSMENT:

During activity, instructor asks students where they can find more information about college costs. Student answers provide a general, informal assessment of student knowledge of college.

LESSON PROCEDURE:

Large-Group Discussion (8 minutes)

Introduce a short discussion about college costs. Write the following figures on the board, and have students guess what they represent:

Tuition for 2010-2011 Academic Year

2-year public $8,085

4-year public $15,918

2-year private $23,871

4-year private $32,617

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=76

Write “Tuition for 2010-2011 Academic Year” on the board and ask: Tuition is one of many costs of a college education each year. What other things do students need to pay for after they graduate high school?

Use student responses to list general living expenses, including room and board plans (rent), train ticket or mileage incurred (travel), food, health supplies, phone, computer, and books.

Conclude large-group discussion with the question: Where could we go to find more information about college costs and cost of living?

Answers provide instructor general assessment of where students go for information.

Read and Discuss Article (10 minutes)

Distribute the Student Paths article “10 money-saving tips for high school and college” and instruct students to read the advice and write a brief reaction in the margins of the article.

After students complete the reading, ask: What is the best tip the author offers? Explain why this is better than others.

Is there any bad advice? What cautions should we take with that tip?

Answers will vary, so encourage critical thinking and practical application of the 10 tips. Keep discussion brief to keep a positive mindset going into the next simulation that challenges students to estimate an annual budget.

Large-Group Simulation to Project Annual Expenses of a College Education in 2018 (12 minutes)

The goal of this simulation is for students to contemplate the question: Will you pay more or less for a college education in 2018 than students paid in 2008?

The College Board College Pricing figures show average published tuition and fees by state 2004-2013: http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/state-tuition-and-fees-state-and-sector-over-time

Project or copy a few of the figures from this for students to understand in full:

Example of change in tuition at Public Four-Year in Texas and California:

2004-05: Texas ($6,139), California ($5,074)

2012-13: Texas (8,354), California ($9,368)

5-year % Change: Texas (18%), California (72%)

Direct attention to 5-year % change, and introduce the concepts of “inflation” and “devaluation.” Will the cost of a college education be higher or lower in 2018? Most students are likely to predict a rise in price, so encourage critical thinking in this simulation

Distribute REPRODUCIBLE B. This contains instructions for a 10-minute, large-group simulation task. Ask for two students to volunteer as:

1. Reader to read aloud the entire simulation on REPRODUCIBLE B.

2. Facilitator for the decision-making process to estimate a budget and choose a college path.

Instructor should allow students to lead the simulation; set timer for 10 minutes, and circulate the room, encouraging every student to write their own estimate of 2018 costs on the table next to 2008 estimates on REPRODUCIBLE B.

Students have information on a table that details the average estimated undergraduate budgets for 2008-2009, courtesy of a study by the College Board (the full study can be viewed at https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/misc/trends/2014-trends-college-pricing-report-final.pdf).

The catch of the large-group simulation is for students to form a majority, which will earn them an imaginary special grant for a halfprice discount in tuition. Remind students to be careful in their budget estimates. The prompt is: An imaginary, special grant will be available to students in the group with class majority. These students will payonly half price as long as their estimated budget matches the annual cost in 2018.

This simulation challenges students to estimate an annual budget for college while considering multiple costs of living beyond tuition. The forced-choice between 3 options will encourage students to consider multiple options.

Every student is instructed to answer all 3 questions:

What should we estimate our annual budget to be in 2018? (write estimates next to 2008 figures)

What college path is best for me in imaginary 2018? Circle One: Private 4-year, Public 4-year, or Public 2-year

What college path is best for the majority of the imaginary class? Circle One: Private 4-year, Public 4-year, or Public 2-year

Conclude this simulation with a 1-minute warning after 9 minutes of activity.

First question to conclude: Ask the facilitator to provide the general class consensus on the estimated total cost of each path.

Write figures on the board. Private 4-year, Public 4-year, and Public 2-year

Second, ask students what path would be best for them. Instruct students to write a number between 1 and 10 next to their answer to describe how confident they are that this is the best path: 1 indicating little confidence and 10 being the maximum. Remind students that this answer takes time and that the simulation provided only 3 of the many options students have after high school.

Third, call and count a vote with a raising of hands to see what path students will take in the imaginary 2018 to determine if there is a majority in the class (more than half the students choose one path). Applaud and act appropriately to student’s reactions to the outcome of this simulation.

Finally, students may want to know the accuracies of their estimates. Remind students that uncertainty is part of the nature of budgets and costs. Before each year and quarter begins, we plan and estimate a budget so that after the year is over, we may account for the actual annual costs and to make a reasonable estimate and plan for the next year. This is a process successful college students must understand to finance their goals. 

 

REPRODUCIBLE B

 

REPRODUCIBLE B, Activity Handout

Lesson: Top tips to reduce the cost of college

Imagine our class is full of college students. Our class is learning about financial planning, and each student must make an immediate decision on how much we will spend next year on a college education.

We conducted a survey of our imaginary class, and discovered the average, estimated budget for a private, 4-year, reside-on-campus, college is $37,390; the estimated budget for public, 4-year, in-state, on-campus, college is $18,326; and the average, estimated budget for a public, 2-year-institution is $14,054. Find these numbers from the College Board Annual Survey of 2008 in the table below.

Average Estimated Undergraduate Budgets, 2008-09 (Enrollment-Weighted) from The College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges, 2008

All Students Private 4-Year Public 4-Year Public 2-Year

Average Amount of Grant Received: All students ($4,000), Private 4-year ($7,700), Public 4-year ($4,000), Public 2-Year ($2,200)

Average Amount of Loan Borrowed: All students ($5,800), Private 4-year ($6,900), Public 4-year ($5,800), Public 2-Year ($3,600)

 

Now imagine it is 2018, and each student in this class must decide the college path that is correct for them.

An imaginary, special grant will be available to students in the group with class majority. These students will pay half price as long as their estimated budget matches the annual cost in 2018.

In 10 minutes, the instructor will end this simulation, and call a vote to see if every student has chosen the same or if only one group of students will earn the half-price discount grant.

Every student must answer all 3 questions before the end of this simulation:

What should we estimate our annual budget to be in 2018? (write estimates next to 2008 figures)

What college path is best for me in imaginary 2018?

Circle One: Private 4-year, Public 4-year, or Public 2-year

 

What college path is best for the majority of the imaginary class?

Circle One: Private 4-year, Public 4-year, or Public 2-year 

 

 

REPRODUCIBLE C

 

The Real Costs

We asked the students below to share a little bit about what their first year at college cost them once they added in miscellaneous expenses and subtracted the costs being taken care of by financial aid resources. The overall costs might just surprise you.

Amanda Cobb, North Idaho College

Tuition: $1,100 per semester

Books: $200

Food/entertainment: $200/month

Residence: $165/month for rent

Grants/Scholarships: $250

Loans: NONE

Work study: NONE

Total per year: $6,730

 

Bertel King, Jr., College of William & Mary

Tuition: $21,000

Books: $300

Food/entertainment: $100/month

Residence: $8,000/year

Grants/scholarships: $8,000

Loans: NONE

Work study: NONE

Total per year: $22,800

 

Melissa Regan, Gustavus Adolphus College

Tuition: $36,000

Books: $600/semester

Grants/scholarships: $24,000

Loans: NONE

Work study: NONE

Total per year: $13,200

 

Anonymous student, Yale University

Tuition: $49,700

Books: $2,500

Food/entertainment: $40/month

Grants/scholarships: $49,700

Loans: NONE

Work study:NONE

Total per year: $2,980

 


About the Author

Matt Andrews

Matt Andrews

Copyright © Agility Inc. 2014
    
 

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