The Financially Savvy College Student
According to a report funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the majority of college dropouts cite the need to work and make money as the #1 reason for leaving school. When choosing between a degree and going to work, paying rent, buying groceries, or supporting family members, many students are forced to drop out.
Financially savvy college students love their lives, not their classmates. They do not buy new cell phones or cars they cannot afford just because their classmates own them. In fact, they forego luxuries for peace of mind by creating a simple budget, setting aside an emergency fund, and living below their means. They choose to use cash and debit cards in place of credit whenever possible, avoiding credit card fees and interest payments.
Make a simple budget that includes income from employment, grants, and scholarships and expenses such as books, food, insurance, rent, transportation, tuition, and utilities. Depending on your unique situation, your budget may include fewer items or more.
To put together a budget, take a look at your personal finances, particularly your spending habits, and categorize your income and expenses. Do you have enough income to pay for your expenses? If not, can you increase your income (e.g., grants, scholarships, wages), decrease your expenses (e.g., cable television, dining, entertainment, transportation), or both? Click here and scroll down to tools to access budgeting apps for Android and iPhone users.
Real Students; Real Tips
Real students identified a dozen strategies to save money
- Live at home! It may not be as exciting as getting an apartment of your own, but it may save you a lot of money.
- If living at home is not an option, get a roommate and share expenses.
- Carpool or use public transportation. Gas, insurance, and repairs are not cheap. Check out the Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) schedule.
- Cook your own meals and pack a lunch instead of going out to eat.
- Shop for used textbooks but make sure you buy the right book! You do not want to find yourself stuck with last year’s edition.
- Shop sales and save on seasonal items. Many big box stores sell school supplies at a discount in August.
- Check out consignment shops for clothes and household items.
- Seek out free entertainment on campus and in the Charlottesville area.
- Join a student club!
- Workout on campus instead of joining an expensive gym or health club.
- Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees.
- Get your PVCC ID card and take advantage of student discounts!
SDV 100 College Success Skills
PVCC’s extended orientation course includes an introduction to basic personal financial literacy.
Students may attend one of The Financially Savvy College Student workshops throughout the fall and spring semesters on-campus.
- Summer workshops
- The Financially Savvy College Student presented throughout the summer at SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising, & Registration)
- Fall workshops
- To be announced (TBA)
- Online workshop(s)
Students seeking additional assistance may schedule a financial coaching session with Dr. Todd Parks. Visit the Writing Center (617 Main Building) or call 434.961.5499 to make an appointment.
Student organizations and teaching faculty may request workshops for club meetings and academic classes. These workshops can be tailored to meet your group's specific needs. Please send your request to Dr. Parks.
Click here to access articles, books, videos, workshops, and other resources that cover a variety of personal finance topics of interest to college students.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: I need help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); who can I contact for assistance?
A: Contact the Financial Aid Office (M136 Main Building or 855.877.3941) or attend a Super FAFSA Saturday event. Click here for details.
Q: Does PVCC award merit-based or need-based scholarships?
A: Yes, the PVCC Educational Foundation awards more than 100 scholarships annually. The application process opens December 1 and closes February 1. Click here for more information.
Q: Does PVCC offer a payment plan?
A: Yes, students may enroll in a payment and pay tuition and fees in monthly installments. Click here for details.
Q: I am facing a short-term financial emergency; can PVCC help me?
A: You may qualify for a grant from the Kathy Hudson Emergency Fund. The maximum award per student is not to exceed $750 per year. Click here for more information.
Q: Can PVCC help me find a part-time job?
A: Yes, Career Services can help you put together a resumé, prepare for an interview, and identify jobs on campus and in the community. Click here for details.
Q: How can I decrease my cost of attendance?
A: In addition to applying for aid, you can meet with an academic advisor and put together a graduation plan and access academic coaches, tutors, and student success advisors to minimize setbacks and reduce time-to-degree.