Student Loans 101 Basics Lesson

A lesson about about student loans, distinguishing between federal and private options, and understanding repayment strategies. Students gain knowledge on making informed decisions for education financing and avoiding potential pitfalls.

Understand the fundamentals of student loans, both federal and private. Discover the differences between fixed and variable interest rates, as well as the ins and outs of the main federal loan types: Direct Subsidized, Direct Unsubsidized, and Direct PLUS loans. Includes tips on effective repayment strategies, including the standard 10-year plan and income-driven options. Delve into pitfalls and risks associated with student loans and understand why it’s crucial to consider alternative education funding options. Learn to make informed decisions on borrowing for college and avoiding unnecessary financial burdens. An introduction to the tools to navigate the complexities of student loan borrowing and repayment.


Use this video lesson on the topic of student loan basics. Learn related concepts of:

  • Loan Interest Rates
  • Federal vs Private
  • Repayment Options
  • Debt Understanding
  • Repayment Plans
  • Loan Types
  • Risk Management
  • Financial Decision-making


9-12th grades. High School. College. Adult Education.


45-60 minutes. It may be necessary to adjust the lesson plan and allocate more or less time to certain topics, depending on the needs and interests of the students.


Hand out the worksheet below (see the GET LESSON button near the bottom of the page).

Show students the video and have and have them complete the worksheet.  Review the questions on the worksheet.  A more comprehensive and detailed lesson plan can be accessed below for further instruction and study.

Student Loans 101 | The Basics

After watching the video, have students tell what the most important things they learned from the video.


Lesson Plan: Student Loans 101 the Basics



Today’s lesson revolves around understanding the fundamentals of student loans. We’ll be watching a video titled “Student Loans 101”, followed by in-depth discussions, activities, and a quiz to reinforce our knowledge. Let’s get started!


  • By the end of this lesson, students should be able to understand the basics of student loans, differentiate between federal and private loans, and evaluate the pros and cons of taking out a student loan.

Video Viewing:

Watch the video “Student Loans 101” (see above).

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the primary purpose of a student loan?
  2. Describe the difference between federal and private student loans. Which one is preferred and why?
  3. What are the three main types of federal student loans? Briefly describe each.
  4. What are the risks associated with taking on student loan debt?
  5. Why is it essential to understand the terms of a loan before taking it out?
  6. What advice does the video give regarding taking out student loans?


Group Activity: Role-Playing Decision Making

  1. Split students into small groups.
  2. Each group will receive a hypothetical student profile with a financial scenario.
  3. Using the knowledge gained from the video, each group must decide if their student should take a loan, and if so, which type of loan is most suitable.
  4. Each group will present their decision and reasoning to the class.


Hand out a short quiz based on the content covered in the video (see below). This will help gauge understanding and reinforce key points. Topics covered: loan types, repayment strategies, risks of debt, and alternative funding methods.


Student loans are a significant decision that can impact one’s financial future. It’s crucial to make informed decisions and explore alternatives before borrowing. Let’s continue to be proactive in our education, seeking knowledge and understanding to make the best choices for our future.

Lesson Resources

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