How to Manage Money in College: Tips for Students and Schools

Professor sharing his views on How to Manage Money in College

Students and schools alike will benefit if young adults learn how to manage money in college. Money problems are the number one reason students cite for dropping out of higher learning. If they learn how to manage their money early, they will be more likely to stay in school and graduate. And improved graduation rates are attractive to new students and parents, as well as community supporters and funding agencies.

The National Financial Educators Council has compiled a comprehensive set of resources and activities designed to raise financial capabilities at the college level. Through curriculum packages, community outreach, media awareness, large-scale events, and online materials, these resources offer a series of practical money management tips for college students. Following are a few examples:

  • Set realistic personal goals and make plans to reach them.
  • Learn how to calculate real costs of living expenses, including hidden costs, and write a workable budget.
  • Locate a financial institution with which to do business, and set up an appropriate account structure.
  • Build a positive credit history.
  • Learn how lenders qualify people for loans, and how to submit a loan application.
  • Identify a career that allows you to pursue your dreams and passions.
  • Understand the basics of investing and why people invest.
  • Know what cash flow is and develop the basis of a long-term financial plan.

These tips have formed some of the underlying principles behind the NFEC’s money management lesson plans. In all their curriculum materials, they approach money management from a practical perspective, teaching through experience and hands-on activities.

Colleges and universities also may benefit from this approach to promoting financial literacy for college students. The NFEC has capacity to tailor a custom program that addresses the school’s unique needs, and that meets a variety of objectives.