This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable
Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
The REAL Cost of College

Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into two sections:
  • Prep — Preparing for the lesson
  • Steps — Conducting the lesson

Media Components


  • WHAT'S UP IN FINANCE? "Moving Out" segment.
    woman WHAT'S UP IN FINANCE? "Moving Out" segment

    The half-hour WHAT'S UP IN FINANCE? program aims to give teens an understanding of finance and how it works in different contexts, so that they will have the basis for making smart choices to put themselves on the road toward effective financial management and financial security. In the "Moving Out" segment, Eddie Romero has just moved out of his parents' house and into his first apartment. He has big dreams—and some big expenses. Eddie would like to save enough money to go to a four-year college, so he meets with a financial planner to come up with a budget to save money.

Web sites:

  • Materials:

    Teachers will need the following supplies:

    • Computer with connection to a screen or television on which to project the Web-based video clips, or computer stations where students can watch the clips
    • Board and/or chart paper
    • "College Budget Terms" Teacher Organizer

    Students will need the following supplies:

    • Computers with Internet access (for individuals or groups)
    • Notebook or journal
    • Pens/pencils
    • Calculator
    • "Data Page" Student Organizer
    • "Budget Scenarios" Student Organizer


    1. Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, or upload all links to an online bookmarking utility such as

    2. Preview all of the video clips and Web sites used in the lesson to make certain that they are appropriate for your students, currently available, and accessible from your classroom.

    3. Download the video clips used in this lesson onto your hard drive, or prepare to stream the clips from your classroom.

    4. Print out the "College Budget Terms" Teacher Organizer, to copy the terms and definitions on the board.

    5. Print out the Student Organizers: "Data Page" and "Budget Scenarios" and make enough copies so that each student has one copy of each organizer.

    6. When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.


    Day 1: Introduction of Lesson

    1. Introduce the lesson by asking students if they have plans to go to college, and if they have any idea how much it costs. Write the amounts the students guess regarding the cost of college on the board.

    2. Then, discuss with students how they plan to pay for college. Some possible answers will include parents, job, student loans.

    3. Next, ask students if they know anything about keeping a budget, and if they plan to use a budget while in college. Write the budget terms from the "College Budget Terms" Teacher Organizer on the board, and discuss the definitions with the students.

    4. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to think about how they might use a budget to help save money for college, or to manage their expenses once they are in college. Play the "Moving Out" segment for the class.

    5. When the segment is over, have a discussion with students about some of the costs Eddie has when he moved out on his own to go to college (Answer: rent, food, gas, entertainment, tuition).

    6. Also discuss with students different college experiences that would affect the costs of college. For example, two-year versus four-year programs; living in the dorm versus living off-campus versus living at home. Write the options on the board.

    7. Hand out the "Data Page" Student Organizer.

    8. Next, ask students to identify possible revenue streams to pay for college. Examples: parents, student loans, and part-time jobs, etc. Ask students to record these options on their Data Page.

    9. Then, ask students to identify a list of basic college expenses on their Data Page Student organizer. Costs can include items like tuition, room and board, books and supplies, cell phone, transportation, and entertainment.

    10. Ask students to start to research the costs of going to college using Web sites from the Resources list.

    Day 2: Complete Budget Research

    1. Students continue to research the costs of college, and incidental living expenses, using Web sites from the Resources list.

    2. Hand out the "Budget Scenario" Student Organizer. Explain to students that they will be completing three different budget scenarios, with a different set of expenses for each. Scenario 1 will be "The Dream" which means students can come up with any type of college and expenses they would like. Scenario 2 will be "Middle of the Road" which means that the student should try to be careful with spending, but can still attend any college they would like. Finally, Scenario 3 will be" Frugal Student" which means that students should attempt to spend as little money as possible.

    3. Ask students to fill in the expense side of their "Budget Scenario" Student Organizer.

    Day 3: Discuss Budget Outcomes

    1. Ask students to review the expense side of the three budget scenarios they created in the previous class. Then, ask students to add up the expenses in each scenario.

    2. Once students know how much revenue is needed, ask them to begin to brainstorm different revenue options. Write the students' ideas on the board.

    3. Next, ask students to complete the revenue side of each of their three budget scenarios.

    4. As a class, discuss the different scenarios that students came up with. Ask students to explain the least expensive and most expensive, and what were the major contributing costs. Ask students if they think they were able to moderate costs in different ways, and to explain the most effective way they did so.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students