**Created By:** Texas GEAR UP

**Grade Level: **12^{th}

*Introduction for Educators:* What is the biggest investment you've ever made? A car? A house? Your students have never made such an investment. In the future, they'll have to make a very expensive investment in college. There are many college options, and not all of them will give the student a meaningful return.

*Introduction for Students:* The idea of paying for college may sound overwhelming. When you feel this way, remember the concept of return on investment. If you succeed in paying for college, you’re more likely to find a well-paying job.

*The Activity:* The amount of money that you spend on college is called an investment. The amount of money you’re able to make afterward is called a return on investment (ROI).

With college just around the corner, you should have some ideas about possible majors and careers. Use the following steps to calculate how much money you could make over 35 years. Here’s how:

- Use the “Career Clusters” list to determine how much money you’ll make in your first year.

- Many companies will give you a 3% cost-of-living increase per year. Using this simple online salary tool, determine how much you will make each year for the next 35 years.

- Add each year together to see the total salary you make over the course of a 35-year career.

- Subtract the cost of college from your total career salary.

Do you think a college degree is worth the investment?