How to Help Your College Student Succeed Financially

Posted: October 23, 2023 | Author: Kierstin Holloway | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU graduate smiles at the camera.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons parents want their children to further their education is so they can increase their chances of obtaining a financially secure future. However, your student's financial success begins long before a diploma is in hand and depends far less on a high GPA and far more on general financial literacy. 

Even if you think your student has a good understanding of finances, it can never hurt to have a conversation to ensure that they have all the information and tools necessary to set themselves up for financial success. 

Here are 4 things you can do to help your college student succeed financially: 

  1. Budget in “Real Life”    

Whatever your financial situation, one of the most important things you can do to help your student succeed financially is to guarantee that they have the necessary knowledge to create and follow a budget. 

If your family is from a state that requires students to complete a brief financial literacy course before graduating high school, then chances are likely that they are familiar with a few of the basics. It’s also possible that they took the class some time ago and have limited memory of the principles they learned. Not to mention, there is a large difference between working with the fictional budgets that high schoolers do in their financial literacy classes and creating a real working budget with your own very real income. 

Offer to help your student create a budget for their first year of college, and help them come up with a plan of how to track their spending. Make sure your child is familiar with basic financial terms and principles, and how they apply them. Implementing these principles with their own finances will help solidify the monetary knowledge essential for long-term financial success. 

  1. Encourage Monetary Goals 

Guide your student to make effective, realistic financial goals. These goals could be something like building a rainy-day savings fund, applying for scholarships, or creating a plan to pay off student loans. Whatever the goal, it is never too early for your student to learn how to set and work towards financial goals. 

  1. Help them set up a credit card.

Don’t simply say, “You need a credit card.” Explain to your student the need for building good credit and help them sign up for one. They can sign up for a simple subscription with a credit card and set up automatic payments to the card from their checking account. Once set up this system is a simple hands-off way for your student to build credit. 

  1. Let them know their physical health can affect their financial health.  

The change and stress of the early adult years can be difficult on the body, and consequently, many young students discover physical or mental health conditions that they were previously unaware of. All of which can take a toll on their finances if they aren’t prepared. 

The Affordable Health Care Act requires insurance plans that offer coverage for dependent children to allow coverage until the child reaches the age of 26. Ideally, this means that your student will still be covered under your family insurance through their college education. If this is not the case for whatever reason, give your child the necessary information and tools to be able to apply for government-assisted insurance. This way they are prepared for the possibility of emergency health care costs. 

Luckily, Southern Utah University provides free non-emergency medical treatment to all current SUU students. Available services at the Student Health Clinic include preventative care, cold and flu treatment, non-emergency injuries, women's health, and basic lab services. Encourage your student to use their services when possible to minimize health care expenses. 

Sometimes financial conversations can be difficult, but doing these things with your college student will benefit them for years to come. For more tools and information on building healthy financial habits in college visit SUU’s Financial Wellness Office.

Tags: Financial Aid Student Life Parents

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