3 Ways Parents Can Help Children Prepare Financially for College


August 29, 2017

As a parent, you want the best for your child, and want to make sure they’re fully prepared before heading off to college. When it comes to money management, use the three tips below to help them get ready for financial independence.

1. Make sure they’re educated

Arm your student with information to make sure they know the basics of personal finances. Some topics to cover with them include:

  • How to use an ATM
  • How to write a check
  • How to use a debit/credit card
  • How to determine their cost of living
  • How to make a budget

These are all very important things to understand, especially once moving off campus becomes an option later in your student’s college career.

2. Help them open an account

Encourage them to open a financial account to use on their own, which could include a checking and a savings option. The checking portion of a financial account gives them a way to complete transactions and also provides them with checks. A savings account gives them a way to save for future goals and start their own emergency fund. For students in Pennsylvania, we’re a good option for a checking and savings account. Some financial institutions offer fee-free student checking that changes to an account with fees after graduation. Our checking service is the same for all members and has no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fees. Students at schools within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, as well as many other schools, are eligible for membership and can benefit from the free checking and savings accounts offered by PSECU.

Once students have these accounts, they can learn how to manage their money by checking their balance and using other services such as ATMs, debit cards, and free Bill Payer service. Having these accounts can prepare them for the future. They can even keep the same account they open in college after they graduate.

3. Teach them how to borrow responsibly

Your child may have to take out student loans to help pay for college. Make sure they understand the debt they’re taking on, how it can impact their finances later, and why they should only borrow what they need to pay for education-related expenses.

In addition to student loans, your student will likely get credit card offers while they’re in college. Make sure they understand how credit works and what responsibility they’re taking on if they choose to open a credit card.

By helping your student understand responsible borrowing before they go off to college, they’ll be better prepared to face these financial decisions now and protect their credit in the long term.

PSECU as a Resource

These tips can help you prepare your student for the financial aspects of college.

To help your student learn more about money management, we’re ready to help. We have a presence on many college campuses across Pennsylvania. PSECU members at these campuses have free ATM access, as well as the opportunity to visit our on-campus Financial Education Centers to ask questions. We even present free financial education workshops.

Like you, we want to see your child have a successful financial future. A college education, along with a strong foundation in money matters, will go a long way toward making that a reality for your child. If your child is educated and has a strong foundation, they will be set to succeed with their finances in the future.

For more money management tips, visit our WalletWorks page.

Want to Join PSECU? Learn more.

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal or other professional if you have questions.