ALEX Lesson Plan


Completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Pell Grant

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Brian Copes
System: Shelby County
School: Calera High
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 29165


Completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Pell Grant


Students will understand the importance of filling out the FAFSA application and complete a practice FAFSA.

This lesson has a financial aid component.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
Career Cluster Electives
CTE (2009)
Grade: 7-8
Career Cluster Technologies I
18 ) Recognize Alabama's sixteen career clusters and associated pathways and their relationship to technology.

•  Describing how pathways lead students through secondary and postsecondary training towards a credential
•  Identifying employment opportunities associated with the clusters
•  Explaining employment skills for securing and keeping a job
Career Cluster Electives
CTE (2009)
Grade: 7-8
Career Cluster Technologies II
20 ) Describe the relationship of technology to Alabama's sixteen career clusters and associated pathways.

•  Illustrating how pathways lead students through secondary and postsecondary education leading to a credential
•  Identifying employment opportunities associated with the clusters
•  Applying employment skills for securing and retaining a job
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
STM (2009)
Grade: 9-12
Foundations of Engineering
13 ) Identify characteristics of sound financial management for engineers and engineering companies.

Example: preparing a budget

Local/National Standards:

Essential Question: What is sound financial management?

Primary Learning Objective(s):

The students will illustrate how pathways lead students through secondary and post-secondary education leading to a credential.


Additional Learning Objective(s):

CTSO:Preparation and participation in Technology Student Association (TSA) competitive events at state and national levels Use of National TSA leadership lessons related to this unit of study

Recommended CTSO activity: Middle School
Career Prep Participants (one individual per chapter) conduct research on a selected technology-related career and use the knowledge gained to prepare a resume and cover letter, complete a job application, and participate in a mock interview.

Recommended CTSO activity: High School
Career Comparisons Participants (one individual per chapter) thoroughly research various technology-related careers that are associated with one of the following technology areas: Biotechnology, Communications, Energy and Power, Engineering, Manufacturing, Medical Technology, Technology Education Teaching, Transportation, or Construction. After documenting the research, each student submits a cover letter and resume for the selected career and completes a formal job application. Semifinalists participate in an on-site mock interview.

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

Paper, Pencil, Pen

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer, Internet Access


It may be advisable to teach ALEX lesson plan #26160 Title: "Can you Survive the Real World" prior to this lesson. This will give the students valuable background information on preparing a real world budget.

ALEX lesson plan# 25367, Title: How much will this lifestyle cost? is another good lesson to teach prior to this lesson

This lesson could also be followed up with ALEX lesson plan # 29115 "How to pay for college".


1. Explain to the students what FASFA is and why it is important to fill out the application. Have the students access the website this site explains what FAFSA is and does. As an additional resource use

2. Explain to the students what Federal Student Aid is.  "Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, ensures that all eligible individuals can benefit from federally funded or federally guaranteed financial assistance for education beyond high school. We consistently champion the promise of post-secondary education to all Americans -and its value to our society."

"Federal Student Aid plays a central and essential role in supporting post-secondary education by providing money for college to eligible students and families. We partner with post-secondary schools, financial institutions and others to deliver services that help students and families who are paying for college."
• Processing millions of student financial aid applications each year;
• Disbursing billions of dollars in aid funds to students through schools.

3. Have the students examine the two above statements of FAFSA. Ask the students what they can conclude through these two statements.

4. Based on the given information who should fill out the FAFSA? Why? (There are billions given to millions)

5. Have the students answer the following questions. This can be done individually or in a group setting. When should the FAFSA be filled out? Is it important to apply early? Why or why not? Have the students log onto the Web site to search out the answers to the above questions.

6. Have the students discuss these questions as a group.

7. A practice FASFA application can be found at: another practice application can be found at
Have the students fill out the practice FAFSA application. This can be done as homework for the students will need some tax information from their parents. This will also inform/involve the parents in the students collegiate college preparation. You can use the attached Rubric in grading the FAFSA Application. As a note the completed FAFSA Application will contain personal information about the students and parents make sure you take precautions in keeping this information secure and private.8. Ask the students if they have heard about Pell Grants? What is it? Who is eligible to receive a Pell Grant? How is the amount grant determined? What do the initials (EFC) mean? Have the students log on to the Web site. and answer the above questions.

9. Break the students into groups or teams have them discuss the above questions then report their findings/insights.

10. Explain to the students that this is free money! (Does not need to be paid back unless you do not finish your degree) When you complete your FAFSA you are automatically considered for a Pell Grant. It is best to turn in your FAFSA in January as grant monies are dispersed on a first come first served basis and the monies run out rapidly. So apply early!

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Assessment Strategies

Completed FAFSA application, teacher observation, student participation.


The students can create a FAFSA/Pell Grant resource page that can be posted on the school's Web page and/or the teacher's Blog. This can also be expanded to include other grant resources.

The students can also develop a presentation and/or podcast about filling out the FAFSA and/or ways to secure funding for college. (grants, scholarships, loans)


The students will research a career of interest to them. They will have to include a job description, examine the qualifications for the job, salary of an entry level employee compared to an experienced employee, identify continuing education/training to maintain employment, compare the students projected cost of living with the jobs projected salary.

Lesson plan 29145 "Career Planning" is also another great complementary lesson.

If further remediation is required review the previous ALEX lesson plan # 29115 Title: "How to pay for college", and ALEX lesson plan #26160 Title: "Can you Survive the Real World".

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.