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College Students: Are You Prepared Financially?

College Students: Are You Prepared Financially?

Have you found out that 21 states have enacted legislation mandating the study of financial literacy as a requirement for high school graduation? Ten of those states require students to complete a full semester of personal finances within a class, but here's the kicker: the remainder of the bill includes it within another course. Only one in three students will be given this instruction under those other classes. Oops!

Let's now suppose a high school student decides to continue onto tertiary education. They will probably have expenses and financial aid, possibly student loans, and possibly scholarships. They will be responsible for tuition and fees, transportation, and food. Rent, utilities, books, and materials may also be included. What training have they had to learn how to make ends meet?

Eventually, this boils down to the fact that there is a 80% chance that a new college student is not taught a single semester of personal finance. Say that you would like to earn income the next 50 years.

Hmm, how does that for a math problem? The one skill students have throughout their lifetime, once they reach adulthood, involves the usage of mathematics.

Welcome to the college! The wolves (and gators and hawks and longhorns and huskies) have been waiting for you.

Getting started – freshman initiation

College freshmen, if you do not already have strong financial management skills, college finances will be a challenge for you. As if FAFSA was not enough of an introduction, the financial aid process will promptly kick off your introduction to money management.

Earliest on, make friends with the staff at the office of financial aid. They will have answers. It's right there in the name “financial aid.” They're not likely to be expert with your money, but nonetheless, they do know all the intricacies of deadlines and the chance of a tuition payment plan. The financial aid staff answer questions about college finances every day. Ask questions.

Your finances are the source of personal finance. If you do not have the skills to manage the money coming in and outflowing, then it's no different than any other course where you could enroll. It is time for you to sit down.

Making choices both wise and foolish

Junior, from the Greek, has the meaning of "wise foolish." Facing college students, you're going to make mistakes, but when things turn bad you're likely to revolve around college hacks that work.

As you have gained some education, it is time to consider your need versus your want. Since you arrived fasty to the library, you need some tips to keep your financial resources tight. Everything from employing a low-profile phone case to locating the cost-free lectures on campus will direct you to the "wise" and away from the "foolish".

College students see instant financial solutions in credit card promotions. Quick to apply, yes, but you can quickly over-spend. Suddenly you will realize that you're unable to pay your high interest rate. Getting out of credit card debt becomes harder and creates a heavier burden on you. If you find yourself in need of a small amount for expenses, consider whether you would prefer to take out a loan. With fixed payment amounts and interest penalties, it could make more sense for you to decide.

Consider junior college if your finances are snug

Sometimes choosing a bigger financial opportunity than smaller choices could guide your college plans. While it is nice to own or rent your own place, or live on campus if you go to school, living at home for part of your first few years may help you financially and academically for the on-campus experience. Creating a strategic plan to work and study from home for a couple of years will help to prepare you for the financial and academic challenges of your experiences on campus.

Another alternative is to take longer to earn a degree. If you understand that you will need to work while attending college, or you'd like to avoid enrolling a federal student loan (or even a way riskier private loan), this might be one of those hard decisions now that will Beta Offset in the long run once you graduate. Consider that it may enable you to be more flexible.

Things to consider with regard to your financial aid possibilities are speaking with a federal financial aid counselor about whether you qualify for a Pell Grant or a number of other kinds of financial assistance. Scholarships may be more available to second-, third-, and fourth-year students, so don't miss out by applying for them.

If you belong to a community bank or credit union, you might qualify for one of their scholarships. Apply for one.

Senior-level mastery of your money

In managing your college expenses, you will not require four years or several elaborate changes. Submit you financial aid application early. Take advantage of available student services. Accept financial advice from older students who are familiar with your situation.

Always continue to study new subjects, even in terms of financial management. Someday you might come to understand more about your 401(k), your retirement account, your life insurance, or even saving for your kid's education fund. At Kasasa, we support local financial literacy at every stage of life.

Today, we have a number of other money management tips for college students to help you better manage your money until your first "real" paycheck. The best financial tips to know your money and understand what you can afford and to ask help from someone if you need it (especially when you become in debt).

Have fun and enjoy your learning process!

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