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4 Financial Tips for New College Students

| September 05, 2018

Sending a child off to college? Sit down together and go over these important financial issues before dropping him or her off for the semester.

  1. Get your student set up with a credit card.
    • If your child doesn't already have a credit card, now's the time to apply for one in his or her name. Many credit card companies target college students with gifts and promos to lure them into high-interest rate credit cards. Discuss responsible credit card usage, interest rates, and late fees so that your student understands the importance of paying off the balance each month. Also discuss the importance of having an emergency cash reserve to avoid going into debt when sudden expenses occur.
  2. Open a new bank account.
    • Check to see whether your bank has a location close to campus. If not, consider opening up a new account. Ideally, you want a bank that has an ATM as close to campus as possible to help your student avoid racking up ATM fees whenever he or she needs to withdraw cash. Often, local banks will have account opening drives during orientation or the first week of classes.
  3. Find a local physician in your network.
    • While many colleges and universities have comprehensive student health clinics, your student may occasionally need to visit an off-campus physician. If so, make sure you have a list of physicians and specialists who are within your health insurance network. Before leaving for the semester, have your student make any necessary medical appointments and get prescriptions refilled.
  4. Discuss financial aid and other responsibilities.
    • Sit down together and make a budget for the semester. Most colleges have worksheets and sample budgets that estimate what the average student will spend each semester. Make sure that you understand all financial aid deadlines and have them marked in the calendar to avoid missing payments or losing eligibility. Talk to your student about balancing academics against work-study or off-campus employment.

Feel free to call for additional financial advice on sending your kid off the college!