April is Financial Literacy Month! Here are the top five finance-related things FRCC’s financial aid staff thinks every college student should know.
1. Build a Budget and Manage Your Money
Building a budget is a valuable life skill for being a successful adult—it can teach you monetary responsibility and helps you live within your means. Knowing how much money you’ve got coming in and going out can help you prevent overspending and reduce stress because you know where your money is going.
To begin, you want to understand how much money you have coming in and how much money you have going out. Do you have money coming in from a job and/or financial aid? What are your expenses? Make sure to include living expenses (food and housing), tuition, books, supplies, transportation and personal expenses.
We know this can be hard, but the good news is there are several tools, articles and resource to help you. Two great apps you could consider are Mint or Every Dollar.
For more in-depth reading you can check out these helpful sites Budgeting Tips and Introduction to Budgeting. If you want to learn more or need assistance, feel free to reach out to FRCC’s Financial Aid Office!
2. Save Money Where You Can
So you’ve built your budget and want to save some money and cut some costs. We get that, some items are much more expensive these days!
Take advantage of any student discounts while in school. Dell has a discount for FRCC students that you can check out here to save money on laptops and other items. If skiing or snowboarding is your thing both the Ikon and Epic passes offer discounted college student pass prices. There are various discounts out there on software for students such as Microsoft, Adobe, Evernote, Prezi and Slack. Students can also get a discount on Amazon Prime.
As a college student you may also qualify for a discount on your internet service, especially if you have qualified for a Federal Pell Grant through Federal Student Aid (Financial Aid). For more information, check out the USAC Affordable Connectivity Program. If you didn’t qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, still ask your internet provider if they offer any discounts for you as a college student.
Each campus at FRCC also has a food pantry available to students. For more information on those, you could contact the Student Life Office on your campus. Or here are links to the food pantry order form for each campus:
- Boulder County Campus—Wolf Pantry
- Larimer Campus—Food for Thought Pantry
- Westminster Campus—The Pantry
We know that life can be stressful and as an FRCC student, you also have access to free mental health counseling services – both in-person and online.
3. Paying for College
We know that nothing can be more stressful than paying your tuition bill. As a student we want to you start out strong. So we encourage you to make a plan to pay your bill—that way, you don’t have to worry about it during the semester when you are deep in your studies.
Know how to access your bill by clicking “Pay/View My Bill” on the Dashboard through eWOLF to make sure it looks correct. Take advantage of any tuition discount programs you might qualify for—if you’re a Colorado Resident, you automatically qualify for the College Opportunity Fund! FRCC also offers a monthly deferred payment plan that you could check out.
If you’re interested in working in health care, we encourage you to check out the Care Forward Colorado program. It covers tuition, fees and course materials for 13 short-term, fast-track health care programs.
Apply for Financial Aid! Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, we encourage you to fill out the application as it considers a lot of different factors.
Our Financial Aid team is here to assist you with any questions you may have. We can offer you assistance in filling out your FAFSA if it feels overwhelming to you.
If you have already applied for aid, we encourage you to make sure your financial aid is in place, sometimes additional items can be requested. You also have to apply for financial aid again every school year so make sure to plan ahead!
Lastly, apply for scholarships! While a lot of deadlines may have already passed for this year, we encourage you to continually search and apply for any scholarships you might be eligible for. FRCC Foundation scholarships for our students open every year on December 1st and close March 1st, so be on the look out for that application. To search and get more information on scholarships, visit our scholarship page!
4. Build Your Résumé, Network and Consider a Part-Time Job
Building work experience can be valuable to you when searching for a job after you graduate. If you can fit it into your schedule, consider a part-time job, especially the work-study program. You may be able to find a job that’s relevant to your field of study on campus that works around your school schedule.
Work Study positions at FRCC currently earn $16 an hour! Read more on work study and student employment at FRCC and if you are interested, contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you qualify!
A part-time job can help you build up your résumé to show case your skills and strengths during your job hunt. Building campus connections can grow your network and maybe even connect you to a job after school. If you are unsure of your career or are looking for jobs or internships or want to polish your resume, contact our Career Services department for help!
5. Protect Yourself
Protecting your identity and valuable information is vital to your financial health. If your identity is stolen, it could impact your ability to get a job or apply for credit in the future.
Protect your social security number, usernames and passwords. Always store your information in a secure place! For more information and tips read this information from the Federal Trade Commission.
We’re Here to Help
If you need more help or would like to learn more, reach out to FRCC’s Financial Aid Office to get in touch! You can also check out some fun new apps such a Zogo, the World of Money or Spent, an online game that demonstrates how individuals with a limited income choose daily where to spend their money.
We know the world of finances can be daunting. But there are lots of people and tools that can help. Now’s a great time to take advantage and get started.