Attending college is not cheap, whether you are a first-time student or a returning student. Below are tips to help you with money matters when attending college:
- Develop a budget.
Scholarships, grants and loans can help to finance your education, however, developing a budget to include all costs associated with attending school is key to preventing financial surprises. If you need assistance with budgeting, contact your program manager at The Trust to be connected with a Financial Finesse Advisor.
- Complete a FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an application that current and prospective college students can fill out annually to determine their student aid eligibility. By completing the form, your school will determine which federal loans and grants you are eligible to receive. One such grant is the Pell grant, a federal grant that is awarded to students based on financial need and does not have to be re-paid. Students are eligible to receive this grant for up to 12 semesters as long as they have not received an undergraduate or professional degree.
- Shop around for your books
Books can be a major expense when it comes to college. However, these days you have options, including: Purchasing books new and used, or renting them (both e-text and hard copies). When your school produces your term book list, you should do a price comparison at both your campus bookstore, off-campus bookstores and online. This recent article from the New York Times can help you understand the differences between buying and renting textbooks. Also, check your campus library to see if they have a textbook loan program.
- Take advantage of student discounts
Many retailers offer discounts for college students, including discounts on products such as laptops and software for your education needs. Click here to see a list of retailers that offer student discounts. Your campus technology department is also a great resource for discounted or free software programs.
- Avoid fees
Knowing your schools important financial due dates can save you in long the run. Most schools offer a drop class “grace period” when you can be refunded your tuition but if you decide to drop a class after this date you could incur fees. The same goes for paying your tuition, so it is important that you know when your tuition bill is due, as paying late can incur late fees.