Welcome to the Students section of Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances. This is the place where you will learn about the challenges facing the federal budget, one of the most serious long-term problems confronting the nation. Here you can have your voice heard as you explore choices on what can be done to fix this.

You probably know the total of your student loans, and how much you owe on your credit cards. Now add $184,000 to that. That's your share of more than $12 trillion in U.S. national debt and another $44 trillion in unfunded federal liabilities (largely for promised future Medicare and Social Security benefits).

Right now, the government has no plan to cover these costs – and if nothing is done, by 2040 every tax dollar the government has will be spent on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest on the money we've borrowed.

The debt is going to drag down the economy and constrain what government can do, and you'll be looking at either paying a lot more taxes or getting a lot less for the taxes you do pay.

Students Face Up is bringing classes around the country together to talk about this problem.  There are solutions, and this is the place to learn about them.


Classroom Materials

Other Places You Can Find Our Classroom Materials

Students Face Up curriculum materials are also available to middle and high school teachers through the University of Virginia's Youth Leadership Initiative and for members of the America's Future Scholars program on iTunes for Epsilen.

Interactive Games

Check out our lesson plan and flyer for using Budget Hero for tournaments in which students and concerned citizens try their own hands at balancing the budget. Note: the rules can be adapted for most of the budget-balancing games listed in this section. Some of the games are about the federal budget; others focus on state and local government budgets.


  • Online training sessions by the Public Engagement team from Public Agenda, for faculty, students and concerned citizens using the Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances curriculum



Reading List


Web sites With Additional Information On Federal Fiscal Issues

Our Partners

The Students Face Up to the Nation's Finances initiative is being conducted by Public Agenda in association with the following organizations:



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