To complete this assignment, each student will (1) Download, read and review the Financial Literacy booklet. Then each student will (2) create an Excel Budget Spreadsheet detailing at least FIVE months of expenses for the semester you are currently in and (3) a written reflection / review of the spending reflected withing the student’s budget spreadsheet. Each student will upload two (2) documents – the Excel Budget spreadsheet and a Word review about that budget. This Financial Literacy assignment represents 10% of your overall class grade – about a letter grade.
STEP 1: Download the Financial Literacy Project Information Booklet and read it. It would really be best if you could print this out so you can keep it for review during the project. In the booklet, you will find instructions on creating your own personal budget on an EXCEL spreadsheet AND a handout that provides valuable information about Financial Aid, use of Credit Cards, and general Financial Literacy that will help you make sound financial decisions in your future. Here is the link to download this project:
COSC 1301 Financial Literacy Project Information Booklet Download COSC 1301 Financial Literacy Project Information Booklet
STEP 2: Begin tracking your personal expenditures to complete your Budget spreadsheet. There is a detailed list of monthly expenses in the spreadsheet example in the booklet. You need to start tracking ALL expenses – every “Starbucks” purchase, entertainment, money spent eating in restaurants, etc. If you are living at home or are not directly responsible for some of these expenditures (bills) you will need to ESTIMATE what your portion of the monthly expense is. For example, if you have an apartment, you know what the bills are due each month for rent, electricity, cell phone, water, food, internet, etc. If you are living at home, or sharing living space with others, even if you do not PAY these bills you will need to research how much you would be paying if you had to pay for rent, electricity, internet, etc. Don’t leave portions of your Budget sheet blank!!
The purpose of this exercise is to make every student more aware of their financial situation. If you accurately complete your Budget spreadsheet, you should be able to see where you are spending your money and have an idea of how much it takes for you to survive from month to month.
STEP 3: Review the Financial Literacy information in the booklet and evaluate your budget and financial decisions for the last 5 months in a one-page paper. The booklet explains the different types of loans you might be offered, use of credit, and other financial decisions you might be called upon to make. One example I use in class – Many students, seeing how their older siblings or friends are struggling to pay their Student Loans, have announced that they are NOT going to use financial aid – they are going to work to pay their way. This is an admirable plan – but often, I see these students turn down loans but use credit cards to pay for books or tuition!! Keeping in mind that most student loan interest rates range from 4% to 6% while most student’s credit card interest rates range from 18% to 24%, using credit cards can be a bad financial decision. A modest student loan could have paid for educational expenses at a much lower interest rate! Notice I said “educational expenses” – Student Loans must be PAID BACK so you want to be SURE you only request what you need to cover expenses involved in getting your education!! REVIEW your budget and evaluate how you are doing! Did you use credit wisely? Are you keeping track of the types and amounts of student loans you have? How much per month will you have to pay to start paying off your student loans?
The following instructions are the first pages of the Financial Literacy Booklet so you can review and prepare for this assignment even if you can’t download the booklet until later. You MUST read and review the contents of the booklet to complete this assignment!
The project Assignment and Outcomes include:
Students will review general financial aid guidelines, types of grants, and loans, including the Financial Literacy for College Students handout, to better understand personal financial aid options and consequences. This information will enable better understanding of the personal financial implications of the Financial Literacy Project.
Students will use Apache Access to access their TJC financial statement to identify and verify current tuition and fees.
Students will research, gather, and estimate five months of financial data – personal monthly income and expenses for the current semester. This would be August – December in the Fall semester, and January – May in the Spring semester. Winter Terms will look at Fall expenses. May and Summer Terms will look at Spring expenses.
Students will learn or refresh Excel/spreadsheet skills reviewed in class, online, and from provided Financial Literacy reading material to create a financially sound semester budget spreadsheet, comprised of all income and expenses (estimated and actual) from the current semester (five months) of college. Excel could cover rates and loan terms, demonstrating understanding of and the correct use of formulas and functions including:
SUM, SUBTOTAL, AVG, MIN, and MAX functions on a set range of data
SUMIF function to obtain a total for subsets of rows or columns
PMT function to calculate periodic payments given the appropriate parameters
IF function to take actions depending the existence of some condition
HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP functions to find numeric values associated with given categories
Custom formulas such as =(1+F4)*F7 where F4 is a % to increase F7 by
Ability to select the appropriate chart type, and create said chart to provide a graphical presentation of empirical data
Students will use this budget to perform “What If Analysis” to identify spending habits, plan for expenses for future semesters, and manage loan debt and credit responsibly.
Students will reflect and evaluate their financial budget, and prepare a one-two page paper reviewing their current spending and saving habits, including a review of their use of and effects of credit. They will utilize critical thinking skills to outline a plan to pay for their continued education through earned income, scholarships, grants and loans, including a discussion on time management (work/study time/class time) and wise financial choices for paying for education.
Grading – The Financial Literacy Project represents 10% of the overall class grade.
Each part of your Project will be graded based on these criteria:
Excel Spreadsheet – document 1
Appropriate & Complete Data
Correct use of Formulas & Functions
Successful manipulation of data
Correct selection & formation of graphs
One Page written reflection on spending habits, credit, loans, budget overall – document 2
Development & Support, Accuracy
Use/effects of credit/loans
Analyze Data – Evaluate spending habits
Appropriate totals, calculations
Draw informed conclusions/Plan for future
Language skills/format of report
(THE BOOKLET LINK IS IN THE FILES)
THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!
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