|Cliché:||Pave the way.|
|POCS Reality:||The college-bound can prepare for financial success.|
Attention college-bound: Are your finances prepared for what could be the single most expensive purchase you’ll ever make? A college education can cost more than a car, an around-the-world cruise or a house. What’s your higher education financial plan?
An article from Fox Business came up with a plan for college students called Five Financial Resolutions Every College Student Should Make.
Here’s my 5 financial resolutions every college-bound student should make:
- Become financially literate Take a look at your finances. Review your assets, income and expenses. How much have you saved? Will your family be helping you financially? What are your projected earnings while attending college? Will you work during college breaks? What bills do you have now and during college? Estimate projected college costs including tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, transportation and personal expenses.
- Apply for financial aid If you need help to pay for college, ask for it. The federal government offers eligible students free money grants, student loans and a job through the Federal Work-Study program. To apply, file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Then check out your state’s financial aid programs. Ask the colleges on your list if there are college grants or scholarships that require any other application forms. Finish up with a search for outside private scholarships from businesses, employers, fraternal organizations, high schools, groups and individuals.
- Create a budget Based on your finances and college costs, determine how much you can afford to save and borrow. If you plan on grad school, add in those costs, too. Project future income, lifestyle sought and time to get a job. Then live within your means.
- Invest in yourself Think of your position as “student” as a job and earn your education. Go to all classes, do all assignments, keep your grades up and avoid senioritis. If you need extra help, ask your teachers or go for peer tutoring.
- Get your money’s worth Choose your college wisely. Compare financial aid awards carefully, review retention and graduation stats and evaluate programs, activities and college location. If you can, take a collegecation (college visit + family vacay) to learn more about the school, internships and other curricular and extracurricular opportunities. Speak with current students, professors and administrators and check out the local community. Where you attend and what you achieve will position you for life after college.
Read more: 10 Reasons not to file a FAFSA.
POCSmom’s College Prep DIY Insight: When it comes to finances, being prepared is key to financial success.