INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Outside of tuition, discretionary college expenses can start to add up.
Butler University says parents and students need to have an open conversation about money before the child leaves home. The goal should be having an agreement on how money is being spent.
Melissa Smurdon, director of financial aid at Butler suggests families start by asking some questions.
Is the student expected to work during that first semester?
Some students might want to take those first few months to get acclimated to college life before taking on the additional responsibility of a job. Either way, this needs to be communicated.
How is life going to change?
It’s challenging for new students to predict what college life will be like. Still, Melissa says there’s a good chance students will have new friends and interests. For example, Greek life.
How involved are parents going to be?
Melissa says parents can open university credit cards connected to a joint account. This allows for the student to build credit, while giving parents some control.
Parents can use banking apps for transfers when money is needed quickly.
Aside from preparation, there are ways freshman can save when they get to college.
Butler says many professors offer free and open sources for class material. And students can rent or buy used text books.
Melissa also says there is always the student life department.
“What is changing? I’m now running around with a group of students that wants to have pizza every single Friday night. Can I do that or can I not? Maybe there are other options. There’s on campus entertainment that is cheaper than going to the movies and paying for popcorn and coke and all those things,” said Melissa.
Butler says its campus is almost 60% out-of-state students.
They say staying active in campus life and keeping busy is a good way to avoid home sick students and to save on back and forth trips home.
Melissa told News 8 most traditional campuses will have budgeting workshops and classes especially towards the start of the year.
These courses focus on developing good financial health.
Melissa added, “research shows having good financial sense and making sound financial judgments pays off in a lot of ways in terms of better mental health and healthier choices.”