By Ashley Murdie, Former Financial Literacy Director, Kansas State Treasurer’s Office
August 15, 2016
In the last post, Ashley offered three tips to help incoming college freshman avoid costly financial mistakes. Here are the rest.
4. Keep an eye on the ‘student loan repayment’ horizon.
While it may be tempting to use student loans to float a spring break trip or buy out the entire taco menu, it’s best not to. In fact, it’s a good idea to take time at the beginning of each school year to assess where exactly you stand in regards to student loan debt. Use this handy calculator to get an idea of how much you can expect to pay each month. Ask yourself what will be manageable with your expected entry-level salary straight out of college. Keeping a constant eye on your student loan debt can help you plan for and prepare a repayment plan that’s manageable.
5. Think about becoming a resident advisor
In return for supervising and assisting the students that live within their residency hall, resident advisors (RAs) at most universities earn free room and board. If you’re a people person who generally likes helping others, then this may be the perfect gig for you. Contact your school’s housing department to learn more about RA responsibilities and the application process.
6. Put your nose in a book.
That’s right. While there are a million and one extracurricular activities to join, don’t forget to actually study. College is an expensive investment and not one you should take lightly. For many, a college degree may be the second largest purchase in their lifetime next to a home. When you think of it like that, why not make the most of your investment? Go to class, stick to a schedule that works for you, and consider joining a study group to hold yourself accountable. And you know what’s worse than student loan debt? Not having a degree to show for it.
7. Don’t forget to ask for help.
Okay, I’ve saved the most important for last. I know it’s cliché and you’ve likely heard it a million times over (I can see you rolling your eyes already), but it’s worth reiterating. Like I said before, freshman year can at times feel like you’re drinking from a firehose. Who am I kidding? That’s life in general. The key I have found is recognizing when you need help and having the courage to ask for it. Whether it’s a career guidance counselor, a trusted friend, your parents, a tutor, or a financial aid counselor, never hesitate to use the lifelines at your disposal.
About the author:
Ashley Murdie is the former Communications and Financial Literacy Director for the Kansas State Treasurer’s Office, which administers the Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program. Since beginning 17 years ago, the Learning Quest 529 program has grown to include more than 193,000 accounts and over $4.86 billion in assets. Visit LearningQuest.com or call 1-800-579-2203 today to learn more.