4 Common Financial Issues for College Students

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You decided to invest in yourself. You’re back at school, working toward a brighter future. But as a student, you now have some additional financial responsibilities. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to what you should—and shouldn’t—do to keep on track and avoid any financial missteps that might derail your journey. Here are a few common financial issues that you might encounter and how you can take steps to improve your own economic situation.

1. College Students Don’t Always Take Advantage of Financial Aid

Did you know that you might be eligible for assistance toward your tuition? You may qualify for federal, state, local, or private financial aid, which could help you pay for school or even reduce the cost of your education. To see if you meet the requirements, you must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Even if you’ve already begun your program, you can still apply; you could even be reimbursed for money already spent. Because the process can be tricky to navigate, reach out to your school’s financial aid office if you have any questions.

2. Misuse of Student Loan Money

If you have already taken out a loan to help pay for your education, remember, that’s exactly what the money is for: your education. While that includes tuition, fees, books, and other related expenses, you can’t just use student loan money for anything you want. Since the money will come in the form of a check, some students mistakenly believe they can use it on personal items they feel they need. But not you! You know the money is for your education and there’s nothing more valuable than that.

3. Students Don’t Stick to a Realistic Budget

When you begin your program, it’s important that you make a budget and stick to it. Even if you’re still working, you may be working less and some of your pay will need to go toward your tuition. Determine how much money you will have each month for essentials like rent, utilities, and groceries, and budget accordingly. And this is the time to limit your spending on things that aren’t essential like dinners out, new clothes, and luxury items you don’t really need.

4. College Students Build Credit Card Debt

Even if you maintain a budget, unexpected expenses can arise such as car repairs or healthcare costs. If you have a credit card, you may use it to cover these expenses. Using credit isn’t a bad thing. It can help out when your budget is tight and help you build good credit, but it’s important that you pay your balance every month to avoid interest costs. If you can’t pay your full balance, pay the most you can and never pay late. If you don’t use your credit card responsibly, it can add to your debt and negatively impact your credit score. And that could have lasting impact, hurting your chances of getting good interest rates in the future for a car or mortgage.

It’s important to be smart with your credit and spending, but especially when you’re in school. At Charter College, we care about your education, your career, and your future. Give us a call at 888-200-9942 to learn about our programs and speak to one of our Financial Aid Advisor’s today.