Though not strictly a “study skill,” wise money management certainly plays an important role in students’ ability to plan and provide for the expenses related to their college education.

This activity, drawn from the Instructor’s Manual for Joel English’s Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner, can help students become more aware of their financial resources and responsibilities. Though these particular questions pertain to school-related expenditures, the awareness and experience that students gain by thinking about these issues today can prepare them for the types of decisions they’ll need to make once they graduate.

Personal Financial Summary

Too often, students get into a college program without a clear understanding about the costs associated with school and without knowing the terms of their grants, scholarships, and loans. Though students are provided an award letter and must formally accept any loans that they apply for, they often allow unanswered questions to linger and don’t fully understand the debt they may or may not be taking on. This assignment asks students to reflect upon the key elements of their personal student finance and, when they are unsure of an answer, asks them to contact the appropriate staff to find the answers. The student can be given these questions through the LMS dialog system or respond to them via word processing document. Feel free to add or change questions to this list to include any important information about the terms within your institution.

Writing Prompt:
1. What is the full cost for tuition, fees, books, and supplies for one academic year of your education?
2. How many academic years will your education last?
3. What is the full cost for tuition, fees, and books for your entire education?
4. About how much money in student loans have you borrowed so far for your education?
5. About how much “free money” in the form of grants and scholarships have you been awarded for your education?
6. After your education is completed or discontinues, about how long will it be before you have to begin repaying your loans?
7. About how much are you required to pay the institution while you are active in your institution?
8. How burdensome do you believe it will be to maintain your in-school payments while you are active within your institution? (pp. 60-61)

Reference: English, Joel A. Instructor’s Manual for Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner. 2014. Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Do you address money management with your students? If so, how do you cover these topics in your course? Share your ideas below.