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The CU4Reality Fair is an experiential learning fair which is the culmination of a financial literacy course for middle school students. The trade show style fair includes tables set up with various spending options such as renting their first apartment, buying a car, student loans, buying cell phones, electronics, food, pets, etc. All the decisions and choices people that age would have to make. [CU4 Reality – 2016 Foundation Herb Wegner for Outstanding Program Video]

The purpose of the fair is to teach students the responsibilities they will have as an adult after going to school, getting a job, and moving out on their own.

Before coming to the fair, the students research a career that they are interested in. They must research the starting pay and amount of school required for the career.

Students will arrive to the fair with their personalized budget sheet, with their name, career, and annual salary. The budget sheet breaks down the salary into twelve months and provides the calculations for taxes to show their “Net Monthly Income.” – They cannot exceed this amount. [view sample budget sheet]

Expenses are broken into three categories “Fixed Expenses,” “Variable Expenses,” and “Discretionary Expenses.”

The students MUST make a spending decision in every category and at every table. This means that there should be a dollar amount and initials from a volunteer on EVERY expense before the student is “done.” A student may not want a pet, which is okay, but they still should have initials from the volunteers at that table. There are some expense category should have a dollar amount in it such as accommodations, food, etc. As they are to assume they are living on their own with a full-time job after college.

When greeting students, fully explain the options at your booth using the provided laminated, 2-sided sheets. [view sample sheet] If appropriate, try to up-sell the students even if you know they will have to come back to have it removed. For example, if you are working on “Cell Phones” or “Cable/Internet,” assume you are a sales person trying to get their business. Write in the amount of the MONTHLY purchase on the student’s budget sheet in the middle column and initial on the right column.

After they have visited each booth, students will sit with a “Credit Counselor” to review their monthly spending. Credit Counselors will help students realize where they can make changes to stay within budget and only a Credit Counselor can provide a part-time job. [view Credit Counselor instructions]

After students successfully complete credit counseling, they will receive a certificate of completion and they will complete a survey.

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