We’re nearing the end of summer and that means one thing: Kids are heading back to school.
Over 2 million students are expected to graduate from their high school hallways and head to college campuses this fall. If you have a recent graduate, this can be a scary time as it brings a lot of unknowns. But fear not! With these five considerations in mind, your child will be ready to take on their next chapter.
1. Open a college checking account.
Whether your child is moving all the way across the country, overseas, or even just down the street, college is the perfect time to start honing their financial skills. Much like their degree, this knowledge will equip them for a lifetime. By opening a college checking account, your child can have access to a debit card, making things like school supplies, groceries and urgent needs more accessible. A mobile banking app can help them keep track of their spending and savings on-the-go. A checking account also gives them access to Zelle, a secure payment transfer service that makes it easy for them to send and receive money to friends and family.
2. Be educated about student loan options.
Student loans are just one of many options to choose from when deciding how to pay for college. They come in two main forms: Federal and private loans. Federal loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Education and require you to complete the Federal Application for Student Aid to qualify. Private loans can help bridge the gap between college costs after exploring federal loans and scholarship options. Covering college costs looks different for everyone, so it’s important to explore your options. Sit down together with your college bound student – doing it together will help you both understand the different types of student loans and how to apply for them.
3. Teach your child the importance of saving and budgeting.
A survey from 2017 shows that 9 out of 10 Millennials prioritize saving, but 74 percent say they don’t know how to meet their financial goals. There are resources to help students learn how to budget, set savings goals, or pick the right kind of savings account. Whether your child is saving for concert tickets or a stylish pair of shoes, saving money to reach goals is a lifelong skill. Certificates are another way to save up for a long-term goal, like a study abroad trip.
4. Consider online bill pay.
With the increasing popularity of smart phones and mobile devices, online bill pay can be an easy way to pay bills. If your child is living off campus, online bill pay can be a hassle free way to pay the landlord, utilities or phone bills. This digital alternative can take the guesswork out of paying bills and your child can focus on other important things, like studying.
5. Take advantage of student discounts.
Lots of restaurants and companies offer student discounts now. This is an easy way to save a couple dollars here and there. Plus, these savings can really add up over time. Some stores also offer bundles, so you can take home that new laptop and printer on the same day for a lot less. Most states also have a tax free weekend before schools start. By taking advantage of these sales, you can save some money on essential things like clothing and school supplies.
Sending your child off to college can be an exciting adventure. Creating a base for strong financial knowledge now can pay off in the future. Use these tips to better financially prepare your child as they embark on their journey for higher education.