Reality U

Reality U 2024 Dates:

Hays Middle School - Thursday, April 4, 2024 (8:30am - 3:00 pm)


Reality U is a one-day financial literacy event for students in high school and middle school designed to help them understand some of the "realities" involved in preparing for an employable future and adulthood. Students undergo a 75-minute interactive and engaging personal finance simulation. 

The program starts out with a short survey for the students asking what they want to be when they grow up, if they envision themselves married, or having kids, and their current GPA. This information is plugged into a program and each student is given a life situation at age 26. With GPA being considered, not every student will have their dream job. If they want to be a doctor, but don’t have the grades to get there, they may still be in the medical field, but not as a doctor.

The students then go to pay their monthly bills at the booths set up in the gym. They will have to purchase a car and car insurance, medical insurance, a home, pay utilities and childcare, and get a cell phone & internet plan. They each also have to the Chance booth, where with the roll of the dice, they may break a leg or pick up an extra shift at work. There is a Q & A booth for students to go to if they get into a bind and need help budgeting for the month.

As they go through the simulation their high morale shifts into a nervous haze as they begin purchasing monthly expense and see how much they cost for the first time in their lives. Halfway into the program many students must stop and rethink the decisions they made to make it to the end without going negative. They have the option to return to booths to change their purchases for more affordable options or pick up an extra job to meet their needs. Many must sacrifice personal luxuries to support their families. 


Students attend the 2021 Reality U event at TMP.
 Students attending the Reality U event in 2021 at TMP. 


Thank you to our Reality U Sponsors for making this event possible!

Nex-Tech Wireless


Sunflower Bank

Midwest Energy

Adams Brown CPAs

Golden Plains Credit Union

Golden Belt Bank

First Kansas Bank

Bank of Hays

Heartland Credit Union

Emprise Bank

Women Who Lead


To view more photos of the Reality U event click here.