Making the Transition to College Easier

Posted by Jonathan Woods on May 20, 2016, 9:13:55 AM

Financial tips for incoming freshmen and their parents

College can be one of the most financially stressful times in a student’s life. Gaining a new sense of independence certainly comes with the challenge of managing personal finances on your own, perhaps for the first time. A 2015 study by The Ohio State University found that seven out of 10 college students are stressed about their personal finances. 

Republic Bank wants to make it easier on students to be ready to manage their own finances and for parents to help equip them to be on their own.

For students:

  1. Stay "Account"able. It's always important to stay on top of your finances and today technology makes it simpler to do so. Republic Bank's Easy Checking and Basic Checking Accounts each come with free mobile banking*. You can access your deposit accounts anytime, anywhere by using a text message, your phone's mobile browser or our free iPhone, iPad, Android & Kindle Fire Apps.
  2. Free money isn't always free. Understand the difference between student loans, grants and scholarships. If you do receive any form of financial aid, know the stipulations of each, and be proactive about managing them.
  3. Save. Save. Save. Developing good savings habits early will help before, during and after college. Promise to "pay yourself first" and put into savings a percentage of your income from any part-time jobs, internships or tax refunds… even when you find money in your laundry!
  4. New=$$$. While purchasing brand new items may be nice, it can come at a hefty cost. Consider purchasing used textbooks, supplies, and even dorm room furniture to save some money. Many college bookstores sell used textbooks, but don't wait until the last minute because the used books get snatched up quickly. And find good thrift stores or even yard sales to help outfit your dorm room.
  5. Stay on top of your credit. Developing good credit is just as vital as keeping your GPA up. Choose the right credit card for you, know and understand all of the credit terminology and use it wisely. Paying off credit cards every month can help build a solid credit foundation.
And while it is important for students to be financially ready to head off to college, parents often shoulder some of the stress as well. To help ease this, parents should:

  1. Continue to save. Hopefully you've created a savings plan for your child's higher education, but just because they're entering college doesn't mean you should stop. Keep saving in case of emergencies such as tuition spikes or a decrease in financial aid.
  2. Talk to your boss. Some employers offer helpful programs for student aid for their employees and their employee's dependents. Check with your supervisor or your human resources department to learn if your employer offers any such benefits.
  3. Understand tuition options. Many universities and colleges offer tuition-assistance programs where you or your student can spread out tuition payments rather than paying all at once. This can ease financial stress on you and your checking account.
  4. Mentor. Regardless of how much tuition you support, it's important to be there as a mentor as your students make the transition. The younger generation loves technology so you can look for helpful apps or online tools they can use to build a budget and live with it. Republic Bank's FinanceWorks helps students monitor their spending habits and manage when bills are due.
  5. Listen. If your child comes to you with a financial problem, always listen and give your insight on the situation. It's important for your child to know if they're in any financial trouble that they can talk about it and find the right way to resolve the issue.
Students and parents alike are stressed enough when it comes to college. But a little bit of effort toward increasing financial literacy can go a long way… and save the stress for the term papers, not the bank account.

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Topics: Financial Resources

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