Sending a student off to college can be exciting and heartbreaking.
Speaking from personal experience, it can be a little scary, too, especially if your son or daughter — who, you’re certain, was just chasing the ice cream truck and practicing for the middle school talent show yesterday — is headed far away.
You might be able to alleviate some of that fear if you know your student can properly manage their finances.
This article from U.S. News & World Report points out half a dozen ways students sabotage themselves financially and offers tips from experts on how (and why) to avoid them. Experts consulted for the story suggest that students might be headed for financial trouble if they:
- Pay too much for student housing
- Don’t stick to their budgets (if they even have one)
- Fail to partake in free entertainment and other activities
- Bring their cars to campus
- Forget to resell expensive textbooks
- Keep financial worries to themselves
There’s a lot of great information in the article that goes beyond the obvious. For example, taking your vehicle with you to college not only means that your student will be racking up fuel and insurance expenses, but campus parking passes can cost a small fortune.
And while there are definite financial advantages to exploiting free campus events, it can also deepen the college experience, according to Peter Nigro, professor and chair of the finance department at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Seeking out these free and discounted activities can become a useful habit.
Budgeting allows students to make decisions on a need vs. want basis, and a good budget will allow for occasional splurging. Failing to consult family members or campus resources when budgeting becomes problematic, though, can lead to poor decisions that might make things worse.
For more details (and, possibly, a deep sigh of relief — knowledge is power!), check out the entire article here.