Back to Pay For College

Managing Your Money

College students usually live on a tight budget. To avoid debt, learn how to manage your money. Create a budget and stick to it. Beware of credit cards; they can cost you big time in the long run if you are not careful. Work only if you need to and then only as much as you need to – students who work may find it difficult to complete college on time. 

FAQ

  • Should I work while I’m attending college?

    Being able to support yourself financially while attending college is a great thing, and for some students a necessity. But remember, successfully completing your academic program is what is most important to your long-term financial stability. If you do have to work, working a moderate amount of hours (10-12 hours) per week is best. You may find that working on your college campus is a good way to manage college costs, get experience, and create new relationships with staff, professors and other students while putting some money in your pockets. If you cannot find a job on your campus you should look near your college or near your home, which will cut down on travel time and make your schedule easier to manage.

  • Do I have to live on a budget? If so, how do I create one?

    Attending college is a huge investment that requires you to be financially smart. Creating and sticking to a budget is always a great way to manage your money. A budget is simply a plan of how you intend to spend the money you have. Budgeting is not only encouraged in college, but also beyond your collegeexperience. Here are some tips that can help you create your own budget:

    1)      List and add up all of your sources of income (such as financial aid, support from family members, income from your job) for one semester

    2)      List and add up all of your expenses for one semester (such as rent, food, bills, clothes, transportation, toiletries, health care costs, money to go out with friends)

    3)      Review your plan. Do you have enough income to cover your expenses with some left over for emergencies or things you haven’t thought of? If not, where can you cut back?

    4)      Stick with your plan.

  • What exactly is work study and how much does it pay?

    Federal Work-Study is a financial aid program that provides paid, part-time employment to eligible students on college campuses to help them cover their college costs. Work-study assignments are either on-campus positions (in the library, cafeteria or computer lab, for example) or off-campus assignments related to community service or a student’s area of study. Hourly rates are at least minimum wage, and the amount you earn cannot be more that your total work-study indicated on your financial aid award letter.

  • What are some things I can do to cut back on my expenses?

    To save money, consider living at home while in school, renting textbooks instead of buying them or purchasing used textbooks, utilizing free campus transportation, taking advantage of all free campus resources such as the library, gym and clinic, and more. Opening up a student bank account can be also beneficial. Additionally, students receive discounts at many local businesses.

  • What is a 529 savings plan?

    A 529 plan allows users to set aside money tax-free to invest toward future college expenses. If you have some time before college, a 529 savings plan may be a good idea for you.

  • How much will my payments be after I graduate?

    Your payment will depend on how much you borrowed, the interest rate, and how long you are going to take to pay it back. To see how much you will have to pay back per month you can use a student loan calculator such as this  one: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/loans/student-loan-calculator


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