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Posted April 23, 2016 by

Financial aid secrets for college students

Financial aid web browser sign concept courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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With graduation season looming, high school seniors throughout the country are receiving their college acceptance letters and celebrating their impending sense of freedom. At the same time, parents are studying financial aid options and scratching their heads trying to figure out how to pay for the upcoming four (or more) years.

As the costs of attending college rise, it’s important to consider scholarships, grants, and student loans to assist with the hefty fees. There are also some innovative tricks that can help reduce this cost. Here are some insights gleaned from real university financial aid employees, parents, and former college students all high school seniors and their families should know.

Use your FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an important financial aid document college students shouldn’t skip. Even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for any money, it’s important to fill this form out annually. This is how the federal government and schools determine what type of aid to give students. There are many subtle things that can impact the grants offered, many of which are unknown to the average person, and may change the amount a family qualifies for.

Attend class

Many universities have strict attendance and truancy policies to prevent abuse of the grants offered. If a student withdraws from a class due to non-attendance in the first few classes or consistent unexplained absences, their course load may drop below the mandatory credits needed to qualify for certain grants. If you have a scholarship or grant already, make sure you know the terms and what’s expected from your end.

Become a Resident Advisor (RA)

Aside from tuition, room and board are the most expensive costs incurred during college. With the average college student paying $8,535 a year just for a place to stay, it makes sense to try to skimp on this fee. Students who work as a Resident Advisor often wind up with free or significantly reduced room and board in exchange for their services, making this one of the most lucrative student jobs available.

Learn to cook

While Top Ramen may be students best friend those first few months, anything prepared at home is bound to be more affordable than college meal plans and eating out at restaurants. Even if a student’s cooking skills need some brushing up, this is one of the easiest ways to save money. Don’t be afraid of the kitchen.

Find freebies

So much of an average college student’s budget is spent on personal expenses, which often includes entertainment. Seek free options available through the university instead. Campuses are loaded with free amenities, from swimming pools and libraries to dorm dinners, guest lecture speakers, and student clubs.

Join a credit union

Since credit unions are run as cooperatives, they can afford giving customers extra perks that wind up saving them a lot of money. They typically feature lower credit card interest rates, higher interest rates paid out on savings accounts, and reduced-fee ATMs and online banking services.

While the term “starving student” has origins in truth, it doesn’t need to be a reality for all. Instead, research financial aid opportunities and spend wisely to save money and stick to a good budget throughout your academic career.

If you’re interested in more information on financial aid, please visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

Brooke Chaplan, guest writer

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information on first time budgeting, see what a Bountiful Utah Credit Union might recommend. Brooke is available via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

Posted August 07, 2015 by

College Life 101: A Student’s Guide to Saving Money in School

happy student with a money at the school desk on the white background

Happy student with a money at the school desk on the white background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Students need to be their own personal financial managers. They also need to be financial planners, looking at future expenses. How can you survive the money pit of college? By planning and managing your money vigilantly. Avoiding overspending and accumulating high credit card balances are important goals for success.

Books and Materials

One of the first major expenses is textbooks. You can save significantly by renting your books. Many students buy used books and materials. Make sure that any interactive materials, such as CDs, website codes, and more, are transferable. Some students share books, especially when they have different class periods.

Materials, such as art supplies, can wreck a budget. Ask your instructor if any stores offer student discounts. Sometimes, you need a voucher or coupon from the college; but, generally, your student ID is sufficient. How much can you save? Up to 25 percent on average. (more…)

Posted September 11, 2014 by

4 Ways College Students Waste Money

Garbage can full of money spilling over with piggy bank in it and money on the ground

Garbage can full of money spilling over with piggy bank in it and money on the ground. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

School is in session—let the accumulation of unnecessary debt begin. Wait, what? You thought all college debt was necessary? Think again. From paying too much on big-ticket items like tuition, to overspending on school supplies, college students are unknowingly wasting money every day. Graduating with a bill higher than your first salary job doesn’t have to be the norm. Stop wasting money and start using these money-saving tips every college student should know. (more…)

Posted August 13, 2014 by

Are You Trying to Find an Internship for the Fall? 10 New Opportunities to Consider

If you want to find an internship this fall, check out these 10 new opportunities in the following post.

Featured: Featured Your resume is revamped, your interview outfit is ready to go — now it’s time to apply for and land that Fall 2014 internship! We have TONS of new opportunities going up every day — from huge entertainment companies and magazines, to boutique PR firms. Check out the top opportunities that are looking for candidates like you, NOW

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Posted July 18, 2014 by

Do You Want to Find an Internship in Public Relations? 5 New Opportunities to Consider

For anyone looking to find an internship in public relations, or PR, the following post shares five new opportunities.

Featured: Featured Are you a gal or guy interested in the busy lifestyle of the PR world? We’ve put together a list of the top 5 PR internships on our site this week. Apply NOW!1. Step Up (Inspiring Women to inspire Girls): this women’s network is looking for an intern to help

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Posted June 30, 2014 by

Why studying at a singing school can be beneficial for you

Singers from the University of Exeter Soul Choir perfoming in the UK in June 2012

Singers from the University of Exeter Soul Choir perfoming in the UK in June 2012. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Many people are of the opinion that a person can only be successful if they choose a much stable career like being a doctor or an engineer or working at a bank managing accounts. While these career options are certainly more stable, a person’s choice is not limited to these basic ones. In today’s times, the options have been increased tenfold and what was considered preposterous a few years ago is being followed and taken up by several aspiring students. According to parents taking up a professional education in singing and music may not have been considered to be an ideal choice for their children but today, they have opened up more and are trying to be more accepting of their children’s choices. Formal training and education in music and singing is not just intellectually liberating but also has myriad benefits that you are unaware of. You can take a gander at some great singing schools for aspiring vocalists. (more…)

Posted June 27, 2014 by

Interested in Finding an Internship for Fall 2014? 5 New Opportunities to Consider

For students interested in finding an internship for this coming fall, check out five new opportunities in the following post.

Featured: Featured It’s that time again… get a head start on the FALL 2014 school semester with a NEW resume-buildingFALL 2014 internship. We have a bunch of FALL internships going up every week but these are theTOP 5 FALLinternships waiting for you to apply now!Click below to submit your application:read

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Posted June 20, 2014 by

Are You Creative? 5 Opportunities to Find an Internship

If you are a creative person who wants to find an internship, the following post has five opportunities to consider.

Featured: Featured We have ALL NEW internships going up every week — here are the top 5 CREATIVE opportunities with companies who are looking for you NOW! Click below to apply:1.Sprayground- This bag company is giving creative thinkers the chance to learn hands on experience in the rapid-growing fashion industry.read more

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Posted June 16, 2014 by

Want to Find an Internship in Marketing? 5 Opportunities to Consider

If you would like to find an internship in marketing, the following post has five opportunities you might be interested in.

Featured: Featured We have ALL NEW internships going up every week — here are the top 5 marketing opportunities with companies who are looking for you NOW! Click below to apply:read more

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Posted June 04, 2014 by

Are You Trying to Find an Internship? 5 Opportunities to Consider

For those of you trying to find an internship this summer, check out five opportunities to consider in the following post.

Featured: Featured School is out for the summer, and so many of you have been emailing, tweeting and Facebook messaging me about all the awesome opportunities you’re taking on. So exciting!! For those of you who are still looking for that dream position, don’t worry — we have you covered. Here are 5 companies

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