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Managing Your Finances as a New College Student

When you are in college, you might still receive financial help. For instance, your parents may have agreed to pay for certain living expenses, such as food or tuition. But even with this financial safety net, it’s still essential to have good money habits. That way, you will be financially healthy after graduation and will be ready to transition to the real world.

Decide How to Pay for College

There are many ways of covering the cost of your education, such as grants and scholarships. Look for as many as you can. And if you’re lucky, your parents may be able to cover part or all of your tuition. However, for many students, that is not the case. You may want to take out student loans with a private lender in order to pay for your education. That way, you will not have to get a job to cover costs while in school.

Have your parents help you fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) every year to get as many scholarships or grants as you can. That information is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. For instance, if you qualify for the Pell grant, you will not need to pay the money back. And certain majors might quality for other grants, so make sure you do your research. There are websites that match you with scholarships, and if you apply for as many as you can, you might increase your likelihood of getting one.

Protect Your Financial Information

Keeping your information safe is critical, even if your personal data isn’t a priority. However, if your Social Security number, credit card information, or other data is stolen, the consequences could last many months. It could also have negative effects on your credit history. And if you don’t notice the issue immediately, the problem will only intensify.One thing you can do is get credit monitoring. There are many free services where you can track your score. It will list accounts in your name, so make sure each one is really yours. You can report ones that aren’t yours.

Start Building Your Credit History

While in school, you may not think much about your credit score. However, later on, it’s important to have a good credit history, whether applying for a loan, getting a job, or becoming approved for an apartment. In the case of loans, a good credit history means you may get better terms, as well as a lower interest rate. In the long run, a good score will save money.

Many young people don’t have a credit history, good or bad, so now is the time to begin building it. You might consider getting a credit card for students. If you use it responsibly, you’ll begin to create a history. One advantage of these cards is that some offer benefits, such as rewards. For example, some offer cash back on certain purchases, while others offer a flat cash-back rate on every purchase. Remember, getting the reward is usually dependent on paying the bill on time each month.

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