How To Survive College: Financial Literacy
by Kira Taylor
There are so many aspects with financial literacy relating to when you are just beginning to attend college. As a freshman in college, I have learned how quickly college expenses add up: school fees, tuition, transportation, medical healthcare, gas money, food, etc. Planning for college can be very difficult and frustrating, especially for those like me, with additional health concerns. Some students have the resources to start school with the Florida Prepaid College Plan (or whatever your state has) due to being financially stable.
A lot of students have to depend on student loans and/or get scholarships. I was very adamant about avoiding student loans due to how easy it can be to accumulate a huge amount of debt. I continued to be positive and worked with my College and Career Counselor to see what scholarship and grant opportunities were available. This is a great resource for anyone in high school, no matter what grade you are in. If you want to get scholarships ahead of time you can definitely do so, it just takes time and effort. As long as you check with your College and Career counselor often you should be able to find out and apply to as many scholarships and or grants that you can. It is best to do the research ahead of time and not months before as application deadlines approach fast.
Having money to help you stay on your feet is really essential if you want to succeed in college. One tip is to make sure that you don't use your money (not scholarship money!) for non-essentials that much- such as Starbucks- as it does go by really fast. I know a lot of my friends have to work to afford their expenses while also attending college. When you have a severe health condition, like myself, it is difficult for me to have a job and attend college while taking care of myself and staying healthy.
Having a budget for meals while attending school without hurting your wallet can be very challenging but is possible. I will have to say, it is very hard for me to turn down Chik-Fil-A! While eating out is more expensive than cooking food yourself, it is okay to go out and eat at a place you love as long as it does not become a habit. If you want to save money when you do eat out, be sure to check online what restaurants give discounts for college students, as you will likely only have to show your school student ID. I would recommend making a weekly plan of your meals so you are not stressing about money for them.
For my specific situation- having Cystic Fibrosis and other related health conditions- finances are tight. This affects being able to go to college, as college includes many additional expenses, along with tuition. Many might not realize how medical expenses can be a stress indicator for people like myself.
Being financially smart by making a budget can help you manage your money from work, loans, and scholarships.