It’s time to hit the ground running for college and you’re probably wondering: How do I pay for it all? How do I make ends meet? Money is tight for many people right now and for college students it can feel downright daunting. Keeping your finances on track takes some planning and these tips will set you up for success!
Check in with the Financial Aid office. Make friends with your college’s Financial Aid office staff. They can answer questions and help you navigate the financial aid process which in turn will ease your mind about how to cover expenses. Make sure you’ve submitted all forms and completed the tasks necessary to process grants, loans and scholarships. Call, email or physically go to your Financial Aid office to make sure everything is in order.
Apply for scholarships. There are numerous scholarships available for college students so continue to apply for them now and throughout your college career. There are institutional, tribal, community, business and organizational scholarships available for college students with deadlines throughout the year. UCanGo2.org scholarships listed by category and deadline are a great place to start and the Scholarship Success Guide is an outstanding resource. You can also score some excellent scholarship information at OKcollegestart.org.
Consider a part-time job. Many schools participate in the federal work-study program, which is made available to eligible students after completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you demonstrate financial need, you may qualify for a work-study job either on or off-campus. Most colleges also have other on-campus jobs available and a job board for off-campus jobs. Make use of your institution’s career center to help you find a part-time job then put your earnings to good use and pay for your education expenses.
Create a budget and stick to it. This tip is key and setting up a budget will help you prioritize expenses and stay out of debt. There are many ways to budget so if one method doesn’t work for you, try something else. Learn about creating a budget, getting through college on less, successful credit use and more at OklahomaMoneyMatters.org.