Credit, Lending, & Debt

Many people use credit on a daily basis. Some use credit for daily purchases like gas and groceries while others use credit to buy houses, boats, cars and other big-ticket items that they may not have enough money to pay for all at once. This module explores best practices for maintaining healthy credit and avoiding credit-damaging debt. Some guiding questions for this module are:

What is credit and how do I use it? What types of credit are available to me? What are the differences between the available options? How do I afford large-ticket items? What makes a credit score “good” or “bad?” What do I do if I get into debt? What protections are available to me as a consumer?

Students will explore the “Three C’s of Credit” that determine their creditworthiness.

Arkansas standards covered in this curriculum:

Arkansas economics standards were revised in 2017 to further incorporate personal financial literacy.

The standards document linked below shows an overview of Arkansas’s economic standards. The highlighted standards are included in the Credit, Lending, & Debt module and can be found on pages 12, 14 & 15.

Credit, Lending, & Debt Standards

Full PDF versions of all state social studies standards can be located on the Arkansas Department of Education website.

Curriculum Layout:

At the start of this curriculum, you will see a schedule to guide you through how to explore the included content with your students. Detailed lesson plans give teachers an overview of the materials and include additional images and graphs to assist teachers in providing visual aids. Also included are questions to explore during class discussion, and worksheets and activities to include to assess mastery. 

How to access:

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Other materials:

The following materials will provide instructors with additional information and activity suggestions to expand on topics presented in this unit. Some of these materials may require internet access. These materials were created by other organizations that work to create economic education content, and were included in this module for their connections to Arkansas standards.

FICO Credit Scores Interactive (NGPF)

In this activity, students take the role of credit counselors, providing information and advice on decisions that would raise or lower an individual’s credit score. 

Next Gen Personal Finance is a non-profit organization that works to partner with teachers by sharing timely and relevant curricular resources, providing effective professional development, and advocating to increase access to financial education.

Calculating the Impact of Credit Scores on Loans (NGPF) 

This activity has students use an online calculator to determine the total interest paid and the monthly payment for an auto loan and a mortgage for individuals with varying credit scores.

Next Gen Personal Finance is a non-profit organization that works to partner with teachers by sharing timely and relevant curricular resources, providing effective professional development, and advocating to increase access to financial education.

Cost of Living Calculator (MoneyWise.com)

The included article and cost of living calculator can be used to discuss the expenses and process of moving with students. Students can think about where they might like to live and using the calculator, see just how much they would need to earn to make ends meet. This would be a great tool to use if you are having students work on a budgeting or household management project in your economics, personal finance, or FACS classrooms.

Finding an Apartment Activity (NGPF)

Finding an apartment can be an exciting experience, however, there are many things to consider. It’s important to find an apartment that fits well with your lifestyle, budget, and other personal preferences. In this activity, students think about what they might want in an apartment, calculate how much they would spend on housing, and find an apartment that fits various needs and wants.

Next Gen Personal Finance is a non-profit organization that works to partner with teachers by sharing timely and relevant curricular resources, providing effective professional development, and advocating to increase access to financial education.

The ABCs of Credit Reporting (Experian)

The ABC’s of Credit Reporting curriculum includes an additional lesson plan and hands-on activity as well as a great pre/post assessment that can be used to further measure student learning.

Experian is one of the three largest credit reporting agencies, along with Transunion and Equifax. Experian provides credit reports and credit scores to both borrowers and lenders to assess credit worthiness.


Please contact Terra Aquia at tvotaw@uca.edu for more information about this curriculum. Additional personal finance modules will be available soon! To be notified when new ACRE content is released, join our email list by filling out the form here.