5 Financial Tips Every College Student Should Know - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Financial Aid
January 8, 2016

5 Financial Tips Every College Student Should Know

What is the difference between a credit card and a debit card?

A credit card allows you to use someone else’s money to purchase things today. You are then sent a bill and asked to repay the money by a certain date. It’s important to know how long you have to pay, and if there is a fee (interest) to use their money. A debit card is linked to your bank account and allows you to use the money in your account in a convenient way. You don’t receive a bill because you have used your own money.

What is credit score?

Your credit score is a number that tells how much of a financial risk you have, i.e., are you likely to pay your bills or not? Banks or a car dealership who are considering you for a loan, or landlords renting you an apartment will all be checking your score to figure out how big of a loan you will be allowed to have. The earlier you can work on improving your credit score, the better. Review www.fico.com and www.annualcreditreport.com for more information and to learn how to check your credit report for free.

Piggy Bank

How can I save money on my student loans?

The best way to save money on your student loans is to decrease what you borrow in the first place. From the time your loan arrives in your account, it will generally get bigger and bigger with each passing day because of the fees charged to borrow money (interest). This is why it’s important to know how quickly it will grow (interest rate), how long you have to pay it off (repayment term), and what your options are if you get behind in your payments. Once you have these questions answered, work as hard as you can to pay it off as quickly as possible—even if it’s just $10 per month while you are still in school. Every penny that you put towards it before it comes due will save you money in the long run. See your financial aid office or www.youcandealwithit.com for great information and calculators!

How can I get more financial aid?

File your FAFSA by the deadline and respond to communications from the financial aid office at your prospective school. Look for private scholarships—online and in your local community. Keep your grades up so that all of your current financial aid can be renewed in years to come.

If I only do ONE thing to get my finances on track, what should it be?

Set aside 30 minutes each month to attend to financial issues—paperwork, bank statements, budgeting, etc. Taking the time to be attentive to your finances will have a great payoff in the days ahead!

Becky Case, Coordinator of Leadership & Adventure Learning

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