Project Description

Money Smart Teen Topic

College Prep is a great national overall resource for understanding what is involved in planning for college. The below are direct links to different areas within the site that will help in making a plan for college. helps to engage and inform students while providing them with the information and tools they need to make all their educational decisions.

  • College Applications & Admissions
  • Financial Aid
  • Special Interest – Guides for a variety of topics important to students including diversity and minority students, LGBTQ, and students with disabilities.
  • Student Tools & Support
  • Veterans

Knowing what a career/job pays is a great way to determine the value of a college degree. will show you the starting, median and ending salaries that you can expect for any job.

 Finding Top/Great Jobs:

College Board, a student support organization, published tuition fees for the school year 2014-2015 at state colleges averaged $9,139 for state residents and $22,958 for everyone else. The average of private non-profit colleges was $31,231.

The cheapest options of all, was a public-sector two-year colleges – also known as a community college, technical or city college. The average fee for this type of college for the 2014-15 school year was just $3,347. Some students complete their full degree by taking the first two years of their degree at a two-year college earning an Associate’s degree. This counts as the first half of a bachelor’s degree, which can then be completed by transferring to a university for an additional two or three years.

College Board estimates the following annual budgets for undergraduate students in 2016-17, when transportation and other living expenses are factored in:

  • $17,000 (community college)
  • $24,610 (in-state students at a four-year public college)
  • $39,890 (out-of-state students at a four-year public college)
  • $49,320 (private non-profit four-year college)

It’s worth remembering that there are significant variation in tuition fees at the most prestigious public universities, fees may be just as high as those in the private sector.

College Choice 101 Video – This 5 ½ minute video will help develop a perspective and framework for making this important decision.

College 101 Infographic – Forecast your financial aid with the FAFSA4caster calculator, use a calculator to estimate the size of your monthly loan payment and the annual salary required to manage that payment and more.

College Planning Guide – Get tips and tools to plan for college from kindergarten to senior year.

How To Get Into College – A list starting in middle school through high school of things you can do during school that will help you prepare for college and a career.

Is College Worth It? Calculator – Determine your rate of return for a college education.

College Preparation Playlist – This 1 ½ minute video shares a quick look at preparing for college.

Estimating your child’s cost of college – This short video is a fun and easy to understand look at how to realistically look at college costs.

College Funding

It is more important than ever to make wise decisions about financing college and continuing education, especially as the cost of post secondary education continues to increase.

Whether you are planning to attend college, are currently a student or already have student loans, below are tools and resources to help you along the way.

Talk to an Expert

KC Degrees

KC Degrees supports adults in the Kansas City region to earn a college degree or high quality certificate. KC Degrees provides adults in-person, phone, and online advisement to help navigate the process to return and finish college. To get started complete the online intake form ( For questions, visit KC Degrees ( or call toll free 844-872-6009.

Educational Opportunity Center

Educational Opportunity Center – 816-604-4400 – The Educational Opportunity Center assists high school students and adults who are pursuing GED/HiSet or college/post-secondary education programs. Free services include: academic advising, college planning & selection, career counseling, financial aid & scholarship application assistance, defaulted student loan resolution counseling, and HiSet/GED referral & placement.

Community America

Community America Education and Career Planners will create a customized roadmap to assist you in preparing for the major milestones in the college planning process including:

  • Pre-college preparation– Know exactly what you need to do to prepare for your next great milestone
  • Choosing the right school– Match your needs and goals with the varied options for education after high school, such as college, community college, technical training or career preparation
  • Career and major exploration– Focus on your career goals and create a plan to accomplish your goals
  • Paying for college– Understand possible financing options, including scholarships, loans, grants, self-funded, work-study program or help from mom and dad

It’s never too early (or too late) to start planning. Whether you have a child in elementary school, a high school senior, a current college student or want to make a career change, we can help create a path to success.

KC Scholars

KC Scholars – Applications due by March 1, 2019

Access a complete listing of Kansas City scholarships.

This scholarship awards 11th graders up to $10,000 per year up to five years, and is awarded directly to the college or university of enrollment. Students must maintain a cumulative 2.5 high school GPA and enroll full-time in college the semester immediately following high school graduation.

Learn More

This scholarship is given to adults with some college, but no degree. Adult learners can receive up to $5,000 per year for up to five years and can enroll full-time or part-time. To qualify, they must be at least 24 years old at the time of college enrollment in the fall semester of 2019 and have previously earned at least 12 college credits.

Learn More

This program is available to 9th graders and is a one-time award. Each year, up to 500 students will have a 529 college savings account seeded with $50 from KC Scholars. Of these 500 9th graders, at least 50 will be selected for the 4:1 match and incentives program where a student can earn a one-time award of up to $7,000 toward college.

Learn More

Scholarships – Show Me the Money!

We are excited to announce that the online scholarship portal will be available for the 2018-2019 school year starting in December. We encourage students to research the following scholarship opportunities, bookmark relevant scholarships and apply online at after December 11, 2017. Deadlines start as early as February 1.

Questions? Contact or 816.627.3436.

What’s your economic IQ? Take our quiz now

Invest in What’s Next: Life After High School – Use this online course to explore your job interests, the education needed to reach your goals and the personal financial decisions to help you get there.

FAFSA 101 Simulation (English and Spanish)  Follow an online simulated conversation between a father and son discussing the ‘Free Application for Student Aid’ or FAFSA

There are federal student loans and private loans. Federal student loans often have lower interest rates and are more common. Additionally, some federal loans cover the cost of your interest while you are in school, also called subsidized loans. Most private loans are offered by financial institutions and have variable interest rates, as high as 16% recently. Repayment options tend to be more varied for federal loans.

Choose the loan that is right for you! Learn about which one to seek first, plus the benefits and risks of both at: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Paying for College – Choosing a Loan

Yes, many students borrow private and federal loans.

  • Search for scholarships.
  • Look at ways to cut costs.
  • Find out what your family can contribute. Your parents may be able to get tax credits for their contributions and can also explore Direct PLUS loans.
  • Shop around for a private loan and remember to look for the lowest interest rates. Generally, you  should turn to private loans after you have explored all other grant, scholarship, and federal loan options.
  • Scholarship Opportunities – Research available scholarships for you through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
  • Fast Web – Create a profile using this online resource to find scholarship opportunities tailored to you

The government pays the interest on subsidized loans while you are in school and you pay the interest on unsubsidized loans. Subsidized loans are based on financial need.

Congress can change federal student loan rates; however, your rate remains the same once you agree to a federal student loan until it is paid off. Interest rates on private loans are determined by the lender based on your creditworthiness.

You should not replace student loan debt with credit card debt because it can make your education costs much more expensive with the compound interest and higher interest rates.

Contact your lender immediately and ask for alternative repayment options, such as a temporary suspension or reduced payments. You might also ask about forbearance or deferment options.

A deferment is a temporary pause in your student loan payments due to active military service and/or reenrollment in school. Forbearance is a temporary reduction or suspension in your payments based on job loss, illness, injury, etc. Your lender will assess your circumstances and provide available options.

The Federal Student Aid site,, has an easy to read chart explaining Direct Loan and FFEL Program Repayment Plans. This includes:

  • Repayment Plan
  • Eligible Loans
  • Monthly Payment and Time Frame
  • Eligibility and Other Information