Financial planning for college students


Adapted from MU Office for Financial Success Finance Tip of the Week blog post by Ryan H. Law, M.S., AFC, Department of Personal Financial Planning, Office for Financial Success Director, University of Missouri Center on Economic Education Director

Around the country, college students are in the midst of rising tuition and living expenses. Many college students are on their own for the first time and, for many, this includes being on their own financially. They are expected to earn money and manage their own finances along with their busy college schedules and social lives.

College financial plans don’t have to be complicated, but they are necessary. Taking a few simple steps now to manage personal finances will lead to much more positive outcomes down the road.

Here are some financial tips for college students:

  • Buy used textbooks or e-books when possible and compare textbook prices online.
  • Don’t be tricked by credit card offers that come with a bag of candy, free shirt or free pizza.
  • Before signing a lease, be sure you understand the entire contract.
  • Educate yourself about student loans — know what types of loans you have, how much you owe, your interest rate, and what your monthly payment will be. For information on your federal loans, visit:
  • Before turning to private loans to help pay for your education, visit your financial aid adviser to be sure you have exhausted all federal loan opportunities.
  • Stay away from payday loans. They carry very high interest rates and can trap you in debt for years.

For the full list of useful tips, view this article online at


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