The month of April is recognized for many things – springtime, warmer weather, flowers blooming, and for college students, wrapping up final class projects and assignments before final exam week hits in May.
Experts in banking and finance recognize April for another significant reason – Financial Literacy Month.
Financial Literacy Month is not a new thing. It was passed as a Senate resolution in 2004 to raise public awareness about the importance of financial education in the US. There can be significant consequences resulting from poor personal finance skills, such as lasting debt, foreclosure from unpaid debts, or even hazardous effects on your physical health.
Are college students giving their own personal finances a realistic role in decision-making, especially when it comes to selecting a college and paying for their degree? With current student debt in the United States at $1.4 trillion, most can agree that something should be done to help decrease this number and eliminate student debt. Educating students on financial literacy might just be the fix.
Check out the information below to learn some financial tips to help you pay for college.
5 tips to making college more affordable:
1. Don’t rule out any school as being too expensive – research their available aid possibilities as soon as possible
Look at websites for scholarship & grant opportunities. Contact their financial aid office for steps to receiving aid. And find a school that fits your needs – academically AND financially. This can mean evaluating living scenarios, travel, food expenses, etc when determining which school to apply to/attend
2. Fill out a FAFSA Form online – you never know if you could qualify for federal grant funding – always apply to be sure.
Pursue Federal loans FIRST, if you don’t qualify for federal, apply for any institutional scholarships or aid, even the small scholarships make a difference. If you absolutely need to borrow, and none of these options work for you, a private loan is an option too. Apply for a work-study job! This is a great way to have a job that supports you while you complete your education. It also gives you the ability to learn some job skills to add to your resume.
3. Take as many Dual Credit & AP Courses in high school as possible.
Perform well! Good grades mean more scholarship opportunities and college credit
4. Evaluate your current finances along with the anticipated career outcome of getting your degree or certificate.
Will the debt that you will incur be worth what you are going to make from having the education? If you aren’t sure about financing, studies show that starting at a community college or technical school can be a cheaper option.
5. Save money leading up to college and pay your way.
It sounds easier said than done, but there are lots of people who work to put themselves through school. Work hard now to pay for those classes so that when you graduate and start bringing in a paycheck, you can enjoy it—debt-free. Choosing a college or university with a low price tag, or starting at an affordable community college and transferring, can help you achieve this.
Regardless of how you make it through college, one thing remains important – be realistic about finances and learn the best ways to manage your money. If you don’t learn it now, that salary you work so hard to earn can disappear in a flash. At the end of the day, most would say they go to college to have a better life in the future. Incorporating financial literacy education can simply make that future a little brighter.
Texarkana College is here to help you get started.
We offer scholarships for graduating high school seniors and returning TC students, and our financial aid team can assist you with all aspects of submitting your FAFSA, claiming your financial aid, and exploring student loan options. Special college funding options may be available for U.S. Veterans and their families—learn more.
And your money goes further at TC. If you attend TC for two years instead of a university, you’ll save an average of $14,000 over two years compared to tuition costs at the average public university.
Ready to get started? Check out our admissions checklist and apply online today!