October 10th, 2014


Choices. The work we do at Blueprints is all about creating opportunities and the ability for students to have choices: the choice in post-secondary education, the choice in career, and the choice in lifestyle.

At our second Blueprints session, The Value of Education, 25 freshmen at Wenonah High School, along with their UAB mentors, discussed the monetary value of college. In this session, participants fill out a hypothetical budget based on educational attainment, from high school diploma or lack thereof, to professional degree.

The mentors guide the students as they plan their hypothetical monthly expenses and intertwine mathematics, critical thinking, and problem solving. The student who is assigned the high school diploma is challenged to balance a monthly budget on just $1,191; meanwhile, the student with the bachelor’s degree is allocated $4,430 for their monthly budget.

I overheard one student, Arius, who had been assigned the budget of a high school dropout say, “I have no choice but to take the bus.”

That comment hit home for her and her classmates. Suddenly the student who envisioned their future home and life a certain way made the crucial connection that with education comes choices; the choice of what type of car to drive, the choice of what type of house to live in, and the choice of what the future looks like.