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College Check List: How to Finance

Yay! You’ve been accepted into college, but how will you finance this next milestone in your life? Here are some tips for first-year students.

  1. Determine all expenses associated with college. These may include, but are not limited to tuition, textbooks, housing, meal plan, dorm room essentials, train pass, parking pass, school supplies, etc.
  2. Fill out a FAFSA application with your parent or guardian before its deadline. The FAFSA application is free to fill out and determines how much federal financial aid you can receive based off your household’s income. Even if you think you will receive little to no aid, it is still recommended to fill out this online form. There are no penalties if you are ineligible for federal assistance.
  3. Discuss your financial situation with your parent(s) or guardian(s). It is important to predetermine how much financial support, if any, you will be receiving before diving into different options for borrowing. It is possible there is already some money in an account available for you to use!
  4. Look into private student loans. This action is time sensitive – apply for a private student loan as early as you can to ensure everything is in place before your academic journey begins. Some other key beginner tips include having good credit when applying or getting a cosigner with good credit to lower your potential interest rates and doing your research to find reputable lenders. Also, be sure to understand the repayment plan because it may differ from federal student loans.
  5. Start saving now. You may be thinking it’s too late, but it’s never too late to prioritize saving. Consider finding a summer job and “pay yourself” first by automatically transferring a pre-determined percentage or dollar amount from each paycheck into a savings account. That money can go towards your upcoming college expenses whether it is to help pay for books or for a pizza while pulling an all-nighter studying.

Overall, once you get to college there will be miscellaneous expenses that pop up that your future self will thank you for if you begin taking these steps today. Remember, everyone’s financial situation is different. You will ultimately need to pick the route that is best for you, but these tips can get you started down the right path. Need help navigating the process? Univest is here to help. Call us today at 877-723-5571.

 

Univest Bank and Trust Co. is Member FDIC and an Equal Opportunity Lender.