NEFE’s Financial Workshop Kits program will be retiring on Sept. 12, 2019. Please download any workshop materials before that date as this website will no longer be available. For more resources and tools to deliver financial education in your community, visit

Dealing with Debt

Dealing with Debt: For College Students

This workshop is designed to provide practical tips for college students so they can resolve financial issues and avoid becoming too overwhelmed. The topics cover managing debt, recognizing signs of trouble, avoiding quick fixes, and implementing a plan to get rid of debt.

Workshop Materials

You must agree to the terms of the Content License Agreement below to access the materials. Once the materials are downloaded, they may be used as-is or customized to best meet your needs.

Each kit provides workshop facilitators with the materials needed to run a workshop straight out of the box, or the choice to adapt any of the detailed presentations, scripts or learner action plans to suit their unique audience’s needs. Here is what you can find in each workshop.

A Presentation

Display these PowerPoint slides during your presentation to keep the workshop engaging and on track.

A Script

Consult the script for tips on how to prepare for your workshop, what your primary talking points will be, and follow-up resources.

Activities and Info Sheets

Guide your workshop participants through the hands-on activities and informational sheets to bring the financial skills to life.

Related Resources

Find additional suggested resources that can help round out your educational offerings.


The FAQ section for each workshop can help answer your questions about working with your intended audience.


How does financial education help college students make informed life decisions?

By helping college students get their finances in shape, these workshops show the possibilities for the future and give students the necessary training, information, and tools to make informed choices. Instead of repeating habits that may have depleted their family resources in the past, college students can begin to formulate their own plans and tailor their everyday money practices to goals they will learn to set for themselves.

What are the challenges of teaching this material?

People who train college students in financial skills may face an array of obstacles, both within themselves and with their students. Some trainers and students may have a lack of training in money skills; bad financial habits; exposure to poor money practices within their families; a limited perspective on, and cynicism about, the possibilities for the future; unrewarding experiences in education; and a lack of faith in education’s ability to elevate their chances of success. Another category of challenges are age-based: Students often do not look beyond their own desires in the immediate future and may not see the value of long-term commitment. They may have little or no understanding of how the world works and they also may face peer pressure regarding financial decisions. In addition, your audience may include first generation college students from lower-income households; these students may know very little about basic money-management skills and financial institutions.

Although I usually dress up for the office, should I wear clothes that will help me with the young crowd I will be addressing?

It’s important to be yourself. Chances are, no matter how hard you try, you’re not going to fit in with—or end up looking like—the students in your audience. The best way to get the audience’s attention is to relax and keep your presentation at a level that allows you to showcase the material while maintaining a light rapport with the group. In this scenario, your job as a financial professional is to make the rather serious subject of personal finance interesting to college students and engage them during your presentation. When it comes to talking about money, sharing your own successes and challenges may be more engaging and effective than lecturing on the topic.

What is the best way to find out how much students know about maintaining their finances?

Giving an informal verbal quiz at the beginning of your presentation can help you quickly decide what needs to be addressed. Start out by asking broad questions regarding how much the students know about personal finance. You can refine your questions based on the answers you hear and on the particular workshop you are presenting. One clue to their knowledge about money might be how they finance the things they enjoy the most in their daily lives. Use the purchase of an iPod or shoes in the latest style to illustrate the need for savings: What about when that MP3 player needs more music? What happens when the shoes wear out or go out of style? Asking students about familiar items and how they use money on a daily basis can help you determine their level of money knowledge.

In addition to asking about their daily habits, asking students about larger financial behaviors that involve decisions—such as emergencies, paying rent/buying a house, student loans, or financing a car—may help you understand the scope of their financial experience.

At the end of the workshop, you can perform another informal survey to see just how much they learned during your presentation. In addition, you can ask them some evaluative questions to help you tailor your future workshops.

  • What part of the class helped students the most to change the way they look at money?
  • What would they change about the class?
  • What information will they be able to take home and put to use?

Consider using the NEFE Evaluation Toolkit® to create some evaluation surveys.

Are there any rules of thumb for creating a successful presentation for college students?

General rules for presenting to college students are essentially the same as for any other audience.

  • Be prepared.
  • Do your best to maintain a positive attitude throughout the session.
  • Never talk down to your audience—that’s the quickest way to lose them.
  • Don’t lecture, engage.
  • When asking questions and discussing subjects with students, don’t let your presentation get sidetracked. Instead, politely and with a bit of humor, bring the discussion back to the topic at hand.
  • Remember that you’re addressing this group as an expert who can make sense of complicated topics and help college students get their financial lives off to a good start.

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