2 answers

Other than tuition, is college expensive?

Updated Toccoa, Georgia

I have literally $7 to my name right now. I’m going to college soon and I’m panicking about money. Any tips? #college-jobs #financial-planning #financial-aid #money-management #college-advice

2 answers

Jacob’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

Hi, Clara,

In general, I would argue that college is expensive. If tuition and fees are not a concern for you, then your next biggest expense would likely be room/board and meals. If your housing situation is not an issue (i.e. you are living at home or otherwise have that piece figured out) then books are probably the next necessity that are a significant expense. I agree with Deborah - seeking out scholarships, grants, and Federal Assistance (see FAFSA's website below) is a good starting point to help defray big costs. Seeking part-time employment on or off campus is a great way to earn extra money to provide more of a buffer each semester. Renting books or sharing with a classmate are also good money savers.

I think another big piece that could help is budgeting. Creating a budget will help alleviate stress by giving you an idea of where your money is going and how much you need for each semester. Your budget has to be personalized. There is no one right answer for a given student's budget. Many factors play into it, including how much your tuition cost, whether you receive scholarships or grants, if you take out student loans, if you live on campus or commute, and if you work while attending school.

Think of your budget as a roadmap to a goal. That goal could be breaking even at the end of each year, earning some money for post-graduate life, or ensuring that you do not outspend your loan payment. I linked an article from the Department of Education below; it gives some helpful budgeting hints and examples. I highly recommend you take a look at it.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Jacob recommends the following next steps:

  • https://fafsa.ed.gov/
  • https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/budgeting/creating-your-budget

Deborah E.’s Answer

Updated Fort Worth, Texas
If you are living on campus, have a meal plan in place, and are receiving financial aid to cover tuition, books, and fees, you will not need much money. If your housing, meals, and tuition are paid for, then you should be okay. You will only need money for toiletries and fun. Also, consider getting a job on campus or just off-campus to provide some pocket change. You can easily work 10-20 hours per week and still carry 15 hours if you are focused and dedicated. If your financial aid does not cover your books and supplies, you will need money for those. Check with your financial aid office. Also, my college grant used to cover my books and supplies as long as I purchased them at the campus bookstore (something to check into). Hope it all works out!