Top Financial Tips for College Students (and Parents!)

Get ready to make the college years a success by organizing your finances and establishing goals.

College students studying and laughing together.

College is more than writing papers, pulling the occasional all-nighter and hanging out with good friends. It’s also an exciting leap forward toward greater independence and self-reliance as an adult.

At UW Credit Union, we’re here to help students and parents alike prepare for the big educational adventure ahead, especially when it comes to developing budget-savvy habits.

That’s why we encourage college students and their parents to work together and follow these tips for financial success. Think of it as a Financial Wellness 101 group study project!

  1. Create a budget or spending plan
  • Talk about true living costs and financial needs in college
  • Identify who is paying for what
  • Discuss smart choices for spending on fun activities
  1. Learn how to use credit wisely
  • Explore student-oriented financial products and services
  • Discuss credit scores and research positive credit practices (e.g., making on-time payments, etc.)
  1. Take ownership of student loans
  • Understand the FAFSA process and disbursement schedule
  • Learn about loan options, terminology, and how student loans work
  • Determine if repayments start during college or after graduation
  1. Protect personal information
  • Monitor financial accounts for unauthorized activity
  • Learn how to keep credit and debit cards, passwords, etc., secure
  • Understand identity theft and how to avoid it
  1. Identify financial services that fit specific needs
  • Learn about checking and savings account options
  • Explore ATM fees, minimum balances and special features
  • Identify how to transfer money between accounts and financial institutions

Easy, Smart and Stress-Free Options for College Students

Here’s another tip for financial success: Before classes start, it’s a smart move for students to set up their financial accounts ahead of time, ideally before high school graduation, so they’ll hit the ground running.

UW Credit Union offers several hassle-free accounts that are a good fit for college students, whether they’re attending school in Wisconsin or anywhere else in the U.S.

Good luck with the academic journey ahead!

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