There is no denying that our lifestyles differ greatly from those of our middle-aged professors, many of whom survive daily without the use of a smartphone. While it is understandable for this generation to want to share their experiences with us, there is only so much we can take. Hearing about the “good old days” and sitting through lectures filled with obscure references to the “Andy Griffith Show” will eventually force us to write-off these educators as simply outdated and disconnected. Each year the incoming freshman class seems younger and younger and the gap between the students and faculty continues to widen. But how can such an issue be fixed?
One suggestion has been to lay out all the facts about our lifestyles and the things we have come to know as “normal” for all these baby boomers to see. To stop beating around the bush and pretending that maybe we aren’t that different from each other. And that is exactly what the Mindset List is all about. Each year this list is released with the incoming freshman class in mind (this year being the class that is set to graduate in 2017). Below is a sneak peak, but you can find the whole thing here. I encourage you, as members of my misunderstood generation, to share this list and spread the word!
You did it. You received that highly anticipated bigger rather than smaller envelope in the mail stating you have been accepted into a college. You’re ecstatic. Then another piece of mail comes and it’s your tuition bill. That’s when it hits you. College is expensive, but just how expensive is it and what will you need to fork over for your first semester?
Your first order of business should be calculating your tuition costs, which vary greatly from state to state and are a huge factor in determining how much student loans you may need. According to the College Board’s 2012-2013 Trends in College Pricing survey, the average cost for tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year institutions was $4,327 a semester, while the average at private nonprofit four-year institutions was $14,528 a semester.
Room and Board
The average cost for on-campus living for undergraduate students attending public four-year institutions is $4,602 a semester, and $5, 231 a semester if you attend a private nonprofit four-year school. If you live off campus without roommates, your living expenses can double.
Renting textbooks is becoming increasingly popular among college students. Your total book costs depend on your major and other factors, but on average, if you rent your books, you could spend $300 a semester, which is significantly less than if you were to buy your textbooks.
And when you rent your textbooks from eCampus.com, you may save even more money. Not only can you spend less on your books, but you can receive cash back when you sell your books to eCampus.com, so other students just like you can buy them at a lower price. It’s fast, easy and saves you money!
Depending on whether you own a car, use public transportation, live on- or off-campus and how far you travel, your average semester cost for transportation is about $700 and parking may cost $70 a semester.
Social Life and Miscellaneous Expenses
Depending on how much you spend on eating out, you could spend $1,000 a semester just to keep your social life intact.
After you calculate all your expenses, consider how much financial aid you might receive. According to College Board, in 2012-2013, undergraduate students attending public four-year institutions received an average of $2,875 a semester in grants and federal aid, while students attending private nonprofit four-year institutions received $7,840 a semester.
Estimated Cost for Your First Semester of College (with financial aid):
- $8,124 for public four-year institutions
- $13,989 for private nonprofit four-year institutions
Estimated Cost for Your First Semester of College (without financial aid):
- $10,999 for public four-year institutions
- $21,829 for private nonprofit four-year institutions
Keep in mind, there are many factors that determine your actual cost of attendance. For a more exact cost, you may want to contact your college’s financial aid department.
Kaitlyn Fusco is a content writer for Debt.org. She combines her interests in writing and overcoming debt to inform the public about issues related to credit, debt and personal finance.
College life brings with it a limited budget and almost limitless free time.
There are plenty of hours to fill, but not a lot of spending money in your pockets. However, there are many resources at your fingertips which can make the experience affordable and enjoyable, allowing you to graduate with good spending habits and without debt.
Here are three tips to help you transition to college living while using your time, money and talents wisely.
1. Start Building Your Resume
Once graduation is over, it’s time to get working. Right after high school you have a whole summer to begin saving for the future. Jump right in and get some real life experience to put on your resume and learn what it’s like to have an income.
Once you start school, either reduce your hours to part-time or find another job that better suit your class schedule. For some students classwork can make employment tough, but this does not mean it’s time to quit working. Just working two shifts over the weekend will give you money to use for saving and spending.
There are a variety of jobs out there for you to try. Whether or not you want something social, like working on campus or something to start networking, or doing entry level work in your field, get started early. Even food service or retail jobs can be the stepping stones to learning leadership skills you will use in the future.
2. Evaluate Income and Spending
Putting together a budget requires accurately estimating how much income you have and what regular expenses you will owe. Determine the funds you have to work with by adding together the money you were given for graduation, any regular spending money your parents will provide and financial aid money that will go toward expenses and paychecks from working.
Even if your parents can’t afford much or checks from graduation are small, the money can be leveraged so that you have a cash safety net during college.
Use Microsoft Excel or another online budgeting application to create a budget that tracks the cost of books, cell phone bill and other personal items. Discuss with your parents early on the costs they will assume for you. Making a plan before it’s time to pay can prevent you from spending more than you can repay or taking out more than you need in student loans.
Open a student checking and saving account to receive discounted rates and track your spending to make sure you follow your budget. Start with at least $100 to open the savings account and then deposit some of your earnings every two weeks until you have $1,000. You can use the savings for major expenses such as flying home for winter break or making an emergency visit to the hospital after breaking in your leg in intramural soccer.
3. Manage Time Intentionally
Believe it or not, studying is a major way to save money, not to mention improve your grades and prepare you for a career. Putting a sizable portion of your time into study groups or planting yourself at the library utilizes this time to its greatest potential. Take the initiative to be a disciplined student and devote hours to your class work.
You may feel tempted to use these hours for fun events like shopping, going out to eat or paying for other entertainment. Limit your nights out to once or twice a week so that you are in control of your grades, but still able kick back and relax here and there.
Take advantage of the on-campus events sponsored by your school. After all, part of your tuition is going toward these activities, which are often free to you and accompanied with free food. This will help with immersing you in the community as well as saving you from spending money on other forms of entertainment.
College is a time to embrace many new things, but debt doesn’t have to be one of them. Make the most of your freshman year by working hard, sticking to your budget and hitting the books.
Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Debt.org, where she writes about personal finance and little smart ways to spend (and save) money. Alanna has an English degree from Rollins College.