Helpful Financial Information
Finding the right repayment plan to successfully pay off your student loan(s) is a big decision. With all the technical language used, even understanding the terms of your loan can lead to confusion. GCU's Financial Literacy Program is here to offer you support from the time you graduate through the life of the loan.
TG™ Learning Center
GCU has partnered with TGTM Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation where you can create an account and complete financial literacy modules including:
Setting Goals, Credit Basics and Monitoring Spending.
Click here to learn more
Financial Tip of the Month
7 Financial Tips Every College Student Should Know
College is an exciting time but it's also expensive. About 70 percent of college graduates had an average of $28,400 in student loan debt in 2013, according to U.S. News.com. Student loan debt is on the rise, which means every incoming freshman should take a crash course in College Finances 101.
Before you hit the books, study these seven essential financial tips to maximize your college experience - for the lowest cost possible.
1. Know Your Financial Aid Options
Most students need some kind of financial aid to help pay for their education. The key is to make the most of the options available to you.
Inquire about university scholarships and research other scholarships you may qualify for because of your hobbies, major and organizations you and your parents belong to.
If you do have to borrow, be mindful of moderation. Don't buy yourself a lavish lifestyle bankrolled by loans.
2. Budget, Budget, Budget
You wouldn't manage a full class load (plus a part-time job and social life) without a calendar or agenda, right? Your finances are no different. Establish a plan to keep everything in order, or you'll find yourself falling behind fast. You don't have to track every dollar, but have a basic understanding of the money that's coming in and going out every month.
3. Try the Envelope System
Easily stay within your budget by using the "envelope system." Under this system, set a budget for the week, month or next pay period. For example, you may decide to spend $200 on groceries this month and $50 on gasoline.
Put that cash into envelopes marked "groceries" and "gas." You'll pay for those expenses out of those envelopes. Once you're out of cash, you've maxed out your budget.
This system keeps you from overspending and prevents you from accidentally going into debt.
4. Steer Clear of Credit Cards
Try to avoid charging your expenses using plastic. "Affording" an extra concert ticket or fancy dinner isn't worth having to work extra hours to pay down sky-high interest rates later. You may already have to leave school burdened with student loans to pay off. Don't saddle yourself with extra payments from credit cards.
5. Establish Credit
With credit cards in mind, it's a good idea to establish a credit history. The easiest way to do this is by owning a credit card. If a credit card puts you at risk for potentially overspending, how can you manage?
- Apply for a credit card. When it arrives in the mail, cut it up immediately - but keep the underlying account open.
- Make a small, recurring monthly purchase with the account number (like your Netflix subscription). Set up auto-pay so that you'll never be late on a payment
You're now building a credit history without putting yourself at undue risk.
6. Learn to Love Frugality
Be someone who looks back fondly on their Ramen noodle days and hand-me-down furniture. If you live with frugality now, your 'future you' will be financially comfortable because your 'current you' made smart money decisions now.
It's never too late to start playing the frugality card. Your future self will thank you.
7. Play Up Your Student Discounts
You know what else you'll never be able to enjoy as much at any other point in your life? Getting perks just for being a student.
Students can reap all sorts of benefits with their campus ID, from discounts at local restaurants to a percentage off that new laptop you need for class. Before you make any major purchases, like a computer or an expensive set of paints for your art class, ask the retailer about student discounts.
College isn't cheap but if you make the right moves, you can keep these costs at a reasonable level. Enjoy the simple things in life. Spend time with your friends and accept that you're going to live like a pauper for a few years. The eventual payoff will be worth it.