Defines FGLI students
Describes disadvantages of FGLI students
Explains what the Budget Calculator's features
Demo Link to Budget Calculator
Budget Calculator UI
Text option for school, drop down for location and room, and number input for scholarship and FAFSA
All fields are mandatory
Main results: Remaining Tuition and Possible Jobs
The inspiration behind CollegePaths originated from recognizing the challenges faced by FGLI (first-generation and low-income) students when it comes to securing funds for education. We aimed to develop a solution that simplifies financial decision-making and aids these students to find suitable part-time jobs to cover remaining tuition expenses.
What it does
CollegePaths is a comprehensive app that helps FGLI students to effectively compare college costs. By factoring in scholarships, grants, and FAFSA, our program provides a the student with an estimated cost of attendance. Additionally, we connect students with personalized part-time job opportunities that align with their schedules, enabling them to contribute towards their education expenses compromising on their studies.
How we built it
The CollegePaths website was brought to life with WordPress. The logic behind the budget calculations was implemented using Python, with the assistance of the Pandas library for efficient data processing and manipulation. To seamlessly integrate the logic with the HTML frontend, we utilized Flask, a powerful web framework. The user interface was enhanced using CSS to provide an intuitive and visually appealing experience for users. This combination of Python, Pandas, Flask, and CSS allowed us to create a functional and user-friendly budget calculator that addresses the unique needs of FGLI students.
Challenges we ran into
During the development of CollegePaths, we faced several challenges that pushed us to grow and adapt. One significant hurdle was our limited familiarity with the Flask framework. As Flask was a new territory for us, we had to tackle a learning curve that involved understanding new protocols, syntax, and concepts. However, our determination and collaborative spirit allowed us to overcome this obstacle and turn it into a valuable learning experience. Through persistence and exploration, we successfully integrated Flask into our project, making CollegePaths a reality that aids FGLI students in their educational journey. Additionally, we had trouble finding a free domain to host our website since the hackathon didn’t provide once. However, in the end, we found a free domain on WordPress, but we were limited by the WordPress templates.
Accomplishments that we're proud of We're incredibly proud to have developed a final product that works seamlessly. Building CollegePaths from the ground up was a journey filled with challenges, learning, and growth. Our blood, sweat, and tears have resulted in a functional budget calculator that aids FGLI students. Seeing our vision come to life in forty-eight hours and creating a tool that can make a meaningful impact on students' lives is a tremendous accomplishment that we're excited to share with the world in the future.
What we learned
Developing CollegePaths provided us with a profound understanding of the challenges that FGLI encounter when navigating higher education. The disadvantage they face in terms of budgeting college costs highlights the necessity of innovative platforms like CollegePaths. By equipping these students with transparent financial information and tailored job opportunities, we aim to break this cycle of disadvantage.
Furthermore, this project introduced us to the versatility of Python in web development. We explored multiple integration options, such as Flask, Django, and even pure Python scripts for specific tasks. This experience highlighted the flexibility of Python and its ability to adapt to different project requirements..
What's next for CollegePaths
Currently, our program incorporates data from a selection of 13 schools and manually entered job opportunities. Our next phase involves connecting CollegePaths to a comprehensive and diverse dataset of colleges, providing accurate cost information for a wider range of institutions. Additionally, our aim is to evolve the job offerings to real-time updates, ensuring students have access to the most relevant and up-to-date part-time opportunities. These enhancements will significantly enhance the value and impact of CollegePaths, making it an indispensable resource for FGLI students across the country. Along with that, we would also like to include a section in CollegePaths that allows FGLI students to connect with mentors from areas of their interest. This would help solve another one of the main issues FGLI students face while attending higher levels of education.