College can be a wonderful time of learning, growing and finding your passion. Unfortunately, it usually comes with a big price tag. And this is why every dollar counts. It’s important to know all the details of your loans as well as how to reduce the need for them. College should not rule your finances. Having a firm grasp on your college financials is key to managing debt, expenses and savings.
College Financials: Student Loan Debt, Savings & More
For most Americans, college ain’t free. Even if you attend community college or a public university in-state, most still need to dish out money for tuition, books, housing and more. All these costs, opportunities for savings and income fall under college financials. Student education loans can make an impact on your finances well beyond those four years. Since repayment can take a decade or more, buying a house, having children and saving for retirement may all be affected by your college choices. Watch this video to learn more about the impact of student loan debt.
Student Loans & Scholarships
- Fill out your FAFSA.
- Make sure you don’t take out more debt than your future career can manage.
- Once you receive your student aid package, be prepared to pivot if you don’t get enough aid.
- Consider a different school with a better package.
- Work closely with the school’s financial aid office.
- Look into any trades and apprenticeships that may interest you more than a four year education.
- Apply for as many scholarships before heading off to college AND while attending. There is big money out there waiting for you.
- Use your skills and passion in high school to help your community, participate in activities and get good grades.
- Consider AmeriCorps, ROTC or another national service opportunity to get money for college.
- You could college for a few years to save money. You may even get some good experience in the field at the same time. You’ll look more impressive to the admissions people.
- Become a Resident Advisor. This usually means free room & board!
- Have a college budget for everything so you don’t start eating out every night, buying new clothes and doing other cool things too often.
- Attend events offering free food. Education and snacks- yes please.
- Find a work study job or something off campus.
- Use the library, find used textbooks or try sharing with roommates to save money on textbooks.
- Lower your meal plan if still living on campus. Supplement with PB & J sandwiches and other cheaper alternatives.
- Live off campus as soon as you can. Make sure you look around to find the right deal.
- Take extra classes to finish early.
- Look for job placement opportunities right out of college to help start debt repayment immediately.
- Remember to claim interest payments on your taxes when you are out of school and paying the loans back.
- Ditch the car for a few years. Save on insurance, gas, maintenance and parking.
College financials are important to manage well during those college years as well as post-graduation. Use these tips and more from our College Life & Budgeting Pinterest board to help manage your student loan debt and finances.