Articles, College, College or Career, Financial Literacy

Financial planning checklist for college

The first few years of college are usually one of the most financially stressful times for families. With many expenses, it’s easy for students to underestimate the true cost of being in school. Though it may be difficult to plan, having a financial plan will help alleviate this stress and prepare you for your future. Use this list as a starting point to map out how you’ll finance your education.

Estimate anticipated expenses for the next four years –

The best way to determine your approximate expenses between going to school and graduation is to estimate what you will be spending on tuition, books, supplies, and incidentals. This estimate should be an average of estimated expenses for the next 4 years. With this information at hand, it’s easier to plan your financial aid options.

Consider consulting a college admission coach –

A college admissions coach is a person who can assist you in gaining admission to your desired institution. They can assist you in establishing an inexpensive monthly payment plan. They can also assist you in deciding which institution to attend based on your budget and course requirements. A college admissions coach can also advise you on the best types of loans and grants to apply for based on your current financial need.

Families might benefit from the assistance of college admissions coaches when it comes to budgeting. They can advise students on how to get the most out of their financial assistance package. Coaches will also provide ideas for maximizing scholarships and other forms of financial aid. The main function of a college admission coach is to ensure that all students are approaching the application process in their best interest and not spending too much money to achieve the desired results.


Student Loan Options

Determine the number of loans that can be obtained through federal student aid programs such as Stafford Loan, Perkins Loan, and Direct Subsidised Loans. There are many federal student loan programs, each with differing eligibility requirements. As a parent, you need to know what types of loans will be available to your child if they need financial assistance. Once you have the amount in mind you can start the paperwork process with FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to get the first year of school paid for.


●      Stafford Loan-

This government-backed loan is the most common type of student loan and is sponsored by the Federal Government. To qualify, you must be enrolled in an eligible program at least half-time. The maximum Stafford Loan for a single year of school is $3,500.


●      Work-Study-

Students who are eligible to work on campus may apply for a Work-Study award. This award can be applied toward any remaining college costs, such as tuition and books.


●      Parent PLUS Loan-

Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus other financial aid received from your institution. The credit check required for this loan will take into consideration both you and your parents’ credit history when deciding whether or not it will be approved.


●      Perkins Loan-

If you’re an undergraduate and think you might need to borrow some money for college textbooks, the Perkins loan is a great option for you. Unlike other loans, it’s not paid back in one lump sum and you don’t have to begin paying it back right away. And since Perkins loans are backed by the federal government, they’re guaranteed and can’t be discharged through bankruptcy.

Consider applying for scholarships –

There are numerous scholarships available that can help pay for college. These scholarships may not be as substantial as university grants and loans, but they can go a long way toward covering some of the lavish expenses. These scholarships cover housing, fees, transportation, books, and other expenses so you don’t have to worry about getting a job during your first year of school and sacrificing on anything because it’s necessary to pay your bills.

Determine projected costs of four years of education with a scholarship

Based on your estimated expenses and financial aid options you can determine how many years you plan to attend school. When it comes to paying for college, there are many ways to get funds, but it is important to track all sources of money from scholarships, grants, and loans. In addition, parents should also know how much money their child has on hand each month so they can help out with expenses that may be unexpected. If need be, a student should have a Plan B in place in case they are unable or unwilling to pay for their education.

Create a budget –

Based on your estimated expenses you can make a realistic budget each month to help you manage your money. This budget should have all college-related expenditures listed along with monthly projections of your income as well as savings plans for education costs and emergency funds for unexpected expenses like car repairs or injuries in case you’ll be absent for an extended period.


To make sure you are doing everything in your power to pay for college, there are a few things that you can do. The first one is to start saving as soon as possible. Try looking at your income and expenses over the next few years to determine how much you think it will cost for you to go to school.

Once you know the amount, take out a loan or two if they are offered. Some people choose this route early on in life so they can get their college debts out of the way sooner and have a larger amount of money set aside for their retirement down the road.

Lastly, try to live on campus while you are in college to save money on your rent and utilities. You will also have access to food assistance, which is a great thing because it allows you to eat as much as you want of whatever is available for free.

Go through all the details about how to pay for college and keep track of all your monthly expenses, then put together a budget based on your income and projected expenses. By doing this you can prevent yourself from falling into debt quite quickly because it will be easier for you to stick with a budget when it comes time for paying off your school loans each month.



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