Due to the continued increase in student debt, national nonprofit ACCC provides incoming freshmen with suggestions on how to make smart financial decisions throughout college.
Boston, MA – August 11, 2015
As the fall semester starts to creep up, incoming freshmen have a lot on their minds. Very few will consider their personal finances as a top priority as they enter the next four years of their life. That’s why national nonprofit, American Consumer Credit Counseling, has created some simple guidelines to help incoming freshmen make educated financial decisions.
With most students graduating with a bachelor’s degree paying an average of $350 per month in loans over 18 years, ACCC believes it is imperative that they understand how to make money-savvy decisions.
“With the soaring price of college tuition, it is important for all incoming students to consider their finances prior to their fall arrival,” said Steven Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “You would not believe how many students are graduating with an absurd amount of debt with no plan on how to pay it.”
Student debt can continue to cause implications for graduates well into their adult years. Many adults aged 30 to 50 are still finding student loans to hold them back from major life accomplishments, such as getting married, buying a house and starting a family. Student debt has also been known to linger into retirement age.
“There are many things college-bound students need to think about prior to stepping on campus for their fall semester,” said Trumble. “Implementing a plan and creating a budget for the next four years should be on the top of that list.”
With the average student debt averaging more than $35,000 upon graduation in 2015, American Consumer Credit Counseling offers 15 money tips for college freshmen:
The college bookstore is notorious for being the most expensive place to purchase books. Consider renting of buying your textbooks from places like the library, Amazon or Chegg. At the end of each semester sell back your books and receive a nice hunk of change.
Save a Little Each Month
Save your coins and deposit them every couple of weeks. After doing this for a couple of months up the ante to $5 or $10 a month. These extra savings will add up and help immensely when it comes time for graduation and repaying student loans.
Get a Job
Make your weekend spending money by applying for a job on campus, such as a desk assistant, resident assistant or selling tickets at sporting events or a paid internship. These jobs will not take away from your studies and will provide you with a steady income.
Know the Difference Between a ‘Want’ and a ‘Need’
Knowing that a need is something you have to have and a want is something you would like to have can help you save money in the long run. Decide which items are needs and which are wants and try to purchase wants as few times as possible.
Create a budget and stick to it! Budgeting is a great way to depict your income and expenses and avoid credit card debt. Try using a budgeting worksheet for students to compare and contrast your total income and expenses to get a realistic budgeting plan.
Choose a Bank that Works
Do some research and find a bank that is near campus as well as your hometown to avoid surcharges. There are many banks that will offer free savings and checking accounts to college students, which helps to avoid fees.
Apply for Scholarships
Scholarships do not have to be repaid and can help ease the burden of the rising cost of a college education.
Understand Your Financial Situation
More often than not students graduate and are shocked with the amount they have in student loans. Make sure you are aware of how much school costs each year, what your parents are willing to cover, what you are expected to cover and annual living expenses.
Limit Amount of Credit Cards
Charging items when you are short on cash can be tempting, but by limiting yourself to one or two credit cards you can keep track of your spending and minimize your debt. Make sure that you are only charging items that you can afford.
Monitor Your Accounts
Most banks have mobile apps that can make this process much easier. Take a couple minutes out of your day to check on your accounts and make sure there is not any suspicious activity.
Live Like a Student
Take advantage of on campus housing and meal plans. Understand that you are a student and do not need to live a lavish lifestyle. Save a little by using your student ID for discounts at numerous retailers. Check out the College Financial Workbook for a full list of retailers who offer a student discount.
Understand Your Financial Aid
Some financial aid packages will require you to maintain a certain grade point average in order to keep it every year. If you are given an opportunity to get a Work-Study job do some research on campus and take full advantage. Most importantly, make sure you understand the terms of repayment upon graduation.
Start Building a Good Credit History
If you are not living on campus, make sure you pay your rent and utility bills on time. Making loan and credit card payments on time are also an excellent way to increase your credit. Building good credit will help you in the future when you want to make a big purchase, such as buying a house or a car.
Minimize Student Debt
Borrow only what you need and nothing more. Is taking out a loan to buy a car necessary? Probably not. Instead, look into public transportation around your school.
Fill Out the Federal Application for Student Aid Every Year
Things change in a year so be sure to fill out the FAFSA on a yearly basis to see what types of financial aid you qualify for.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. As experts in debt and credit management, ACCC believes that many of the same principles applied to recovering from significant credit card debt can be applied to repaying student loan debt. ACCC provides prospective, current, and past students and their families with the information and resources necessary to make the best possible personal finances decisions about their college education and to help successfully maneuver the repayment process without relying on credit card debt or additional loans. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.