Money Lessons For New College Students

Across the country, new college students are heading off to campus, preparing to live away from their parents for the first time. While many parents are still supporting their student offspring, these young people will be embarking on their first experiences into managing their own finances.

This can present a challenge for students and their parents, who should sit down for an honest money talk prior to leaving for campus. Parents and their children should discuss who is paying for what, and how will parents provide money, and how much will they provide.

It’s important to new students to understand how much they can withdraw from the ATM, and how many times they can swipe their debit cards.

Suggest that your child draw up a detailed budget that will determine how much they need for fixed expenses and then how much can be allowed to spend on food, coffee, and other costs routinely spent during college years. Then, make sure they allow room in the budget for bigger expenses such as travel to/from home, vacations with friends, and any unexpected expenses such as car repairs.

Here are a few money management lessons your son or daughter should learn before heading off to college this fall.

  • Borrow as little as possible. Student loan funds are for tuition, books and basic living expenses, not meals out and new clothes. Using student loan funds for spring break trips and dining out becomes even more expensive if you’re still paying for them years later.
  • Take your education seriously. If students fail classes, additional money will need to be spent on classes and fees. It’s a good idea for parents to state upfront whether or not they will not pay for these costs.
  • Part-time work is a good option. Most undergraduates have 10 hours a week to spend on a part-time job. This can provide additional income, and offer great work experience.

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