When you drop off your college student for the start of school – whether it’s for the first time or the last – they may be left with many questions. Will I get along with my roommate? Should I change my major? Did I pack enough snacks? The list can go on and on.
While you can’t answer these questions for your student, there are others that are important to address. What am I supposed to do about money? Where’s my debit card? Should I just charge this? Whether they’re a freshman or senior, these and several other money questions linger for many students.
To help your student, consider what they may be questioning and how you can help them feel prepared.
- What do I need? Especially if your child is just starting their first year of college, they may not be familiar with what they’ll need to manage their money while they’re away from home. You can help them by reviewing what accounts they have or teaching them how to set up a new one.
- What do I have to do? Your student may need help understanding account or ATM fees, if and how they can load money onto their campus ID to be used at school, and where they should store important account “stuff” like debit cards or paper checks that they may not use every day.
- How do I access my money? Your student may know how to withdraw money from an ATM, but they’ll also need to know how to move money around. For instance, if they use their campus ID to purchase textbooks at the bookstore, do they know how to pay that off using the money in their checking account?
- Do I have to do this myself? Your student may not be clear on what is expected of them. Make sure your child knows if you will be providing them with money, if they are expected to get a job and use their own money, and who will take care of paying bills in their name.
- Why do I even have to worry about this? It’s easy for students to get wrapped up in the here and now, no matter what year of college they’re beginning. Unfortunately, short-sighted thoughts can be detrimental to future financial success. Help your student see the importance of managing money properly by explaining the link between their actions now and their future goals. If your student wants to one day get a job, apartment, or good rates on car loans, car insurance, or a mortgage, they’ll need to start building good credit now.
Conversations like these can leave your student feeling overwhelmed, but there are a lot of resources available to help them. Our WalletWorks page offers resources for students that cover topics such as budgets, debt management, and identity theft.