tags: National Financial Literacy Month, Financial Aid, loans, College Budget
So you’ve received several mail offers for loan qualifications and acquired a bundle of credit cards. Perhaps the personal budget includes saving for a car, saving for retirement, saving for a much needed vacation, and STILL trying to not spend money on that much needed daily cup of coffee. Choices, choices, and more choices are going to arrive much quicker than you can sometimes think while living the college life. But the ultimate question is, where does your personal funds come from after you’ve paid the rent for your dorm, renters insurance for your property, and what is the next step after establishing a decent credit score? There are so many questions and not enough hours in your schedule right now to find the answers. Make this your top priority starting this week and make the most out of National Financial Literacy Month. A great tip I can give you is to do WHATEVER it takes to educate yourself while you are still undergraduate and learn good financial habits early on in your college career. The advice your financial aid center and beyond are tools to take into the real world and save you hundreds, thousands, and lots of time and will help you reach your personal success goals faster. Get in touch with a financial professional on your campus today and check out these awesome tips to understand how to pay for the remainder of your college classes!
1. Schedule an appointment to apply, check, and submit your financial aid early for the upcoming school year.
Making plans at your earliest convenience to tackle your financial plan towards receiving additional aid is very good. The application doesn’t take too long to fill out if you have the proper document or have requested by mail a report of it from the Internal Revenue Service. Your financial aid office is open long hours throughout the typical day because they are aware of your busy schedule as a growing adult and want to accommodate you to the best of their abilities. I want you to take a few deep breaths,.Get over your anxiety of meeting staff on campus and hold your head high as you schedule your first appointment with the financial aid office. The staff will let you know after you’ve signed in with your student ID (the standard procedure at HCCS, for example) what additional documents or tax returns you may need to submit along with pay stubs and a valid state driver’s license. Stay organized, write down what you need to bring upon your follow-up appointment and prepare to fill out the FAFSA together with a financial aid associate if this is your first few times (in case you are scared to submit an error or haven’t gotten the hang of it). It’s a rewarding feeling once you know you can cross this task off your to do checklist. Who knows what scholarships and major designation funding you qualify for!
2. Set up a one-on-one appointment with a financial coach as soon as possible on campus to access your college saving budget.
So upon entering college you’ve heard that textbooks, additional technology courses, on campus fees, parking, eating, and saving for cars and other finances quickly can quickly deplete your pockets on a frequent basis. Take valuable time out of your busy schedule to schedule an important at a link such as this one and read through all the resources made available to you by your school’s financial aid center.
3. Attend upcoming money week workshops on campus.
For example, at Houston Community College, we are currently in the process of celebrating #FinancialAidFridays throughout April. If you choose to attend one of these informative workshops at one of the designated local campuses, you will have a chance not only to be the winner of a great scholarship, but HCC’s Houston Money Week is popular for giving you additional tips and professional advice for you to work on your budget. You’ll meet great people that you potentially add to your professional network. There will be seven meetups this month, just inquire!
4. Take an online course on personal financial literacy or read a book about it.
Have extra time after long day at school?! Utilize your free time to do thorough research online with college professional websites such as well known CollegeBoard and Entrepreneur.com. Another great way to learn about how to meet your personal finance goals is to read amazing books such as the popular Freakanomics book. Access free virtual education online 24/7 with several courses for personal finance from great resources such as Udemy.com, Coursera, ALISON, and Khan Academy! Share what you’ve learned with your professor and fellow geeks!
5. Subscribe to a financial advisor’s podcast, read online about financial advice, or subscribe to a newsletter or financial success blog via email.
For college gals, we love to read blogs on how an inspiring woman got to her position, and famous lady entrepreneurs such as The Intern Queen and HerCampus’ ladies really have made an impact in the millennial and Gen-Z realms, and have ultimate success guides you can access with just your fingertips. This is for the fellas, too. Subscribe to colorful, entertaining, and informative email newsletters of your favorite blogs and entrepreneurs (i.e. Mark Cuban) and you’ll have loads of information to intake from how to budget over the holidays to finding additional sources of income while living the college life.
No matter how much time you’ve spent on your phone, laptop, social media outlets, and randomly Netflix-ing the free time away, please take advantage of these tips to make the most out of National Financial Literacy Month by taking advantage of these great opportunities and free resources via Internet and on campus. You will be so glad you did once you jump over a few of these hurdles and can prepare for a new registration session and know the personal funds are growing as you yourself advance in your educational and even career goals.
Start early, finish strong, and have fun all month long!
Do you have any more useful tips for college students to make the most out of National Financial Literacy Month?! Comment below!