Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,

Print

Posted in:

Managing your college student’s money expectations

With a child in college, the expenses can seem endless — tuition, books, room and board and an infinite number of incidentals. How do parents keep their heads above water financially, establish boundaries and make sure their kids’ expectations are rooted in reality? Here’s some practical wisdom from parents who are trying to instill good spending habits in their college students.

ANGELA BRUNI

(From left to right) Jeff, Catie Lee and Christopher Bruni

Children in college: Catie Lee Bruni (23), attended the University of Alabama, currently at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry; Jeff Bruni (21), Millsaps College, senior biochemistry major; Christopher Bruni (19), Millsaps College, sophomore biochemistry major

What advice do you have for other parents about budgeting for your college student’s daily needs?

The best financial assistance you will get is scholarship money. Encourage your child to do well in high school, score high on the ACT and try hard for that one-shot PSAT score to become a National Merit Scholar. But in general, first research what opportunities and activities will be available to your child at his/her chosen school and decide what you are or are not willing to pay for.

Secondly, do some research and find out ahead of time the cost of extracurricular activities (opportunities that cost money beyond tuition/dorm/ meals) and decide if you want to totally fund that expense or if you expect your child to fund some or all of it, then make a plan to make it happen.

How have you managed your college student’s expectations in terms of finances/money to live on while they are in school? Has it required any difficult conversations?

I’m fortunate that my children understand and are good with finances. My advice would be to discuss with your child what he or she (not YOU) expects to spend in a two-week period beyond dues/fees/required items (so gas, meals out with friends, spring break trip, etc.) and together set a budget. This money is to be deposited every two weeks into their account. Hold them to the “when it’s gone, it’s gone” philosophy, and they will be able to learn how to budget.

JACKIE CASTRO-COOPER

Children in college: Sofia Flora Cooper (20), University of Mississippi, junior studying integrated marketing and communications

Share your process of planning for college expenses (costs of daily living and incidentals while child is in school):

We are a unique family. My husband and I sat our three children down while they were in high school for a college talk. We told our children that they will be responsible for their own college tuition. This was a choice my husband and I made because we saw the severe debt that our friends with college students had incurred.

What advice do you have for other parents about budgeting for your college student’s daily needs?

We told them that they would be able to pay for their college by getting excellent grades in high school, preparing to take the ACT exam and applying for scholarships in our community, national scholarships and the scholarships the college offers. Full-time summer jobs and weekend jobs during their junior and senior years of high school allowed them to put money into their savings account.

MERCEDES AND SARAH CARRANZA

Left to right: Mercedes, Sarah, Edward, Elizabeth and Eva Carranza

Children in college: Elizabeth Carranza (22), Mississippi State University, senior biomedical engineering major; Eva Carranza (20), Mississippi State University, senior nutrition major. (Edward Carranza graduated from Mississippi State University in December 2018 with a mechanical engineering degree).

What advice do you have for other parents about budgeting for your college student’s daily needs?

Selecting an appropriate meal plan is a good starting point when budgeting for your student’s daily needs. Talk with your student and agree on the plan that best suits their needs and is economical for you. In addition, unless your child is proficient in cooking nightly, they will spend a lot of time and energy attempting to cook that could properly be used on studying.

How have you managed your college students’ expectations in terms of finances/money to live on while they are in school? Has it required any difficult conversations?

(Managing expectations requires) communicating with your student(s) frequently to help them understand their needs versus wants (and) setting boundaries on the things you will financially support (versus) the things they will be responsible for and fund independently. For example, you agree to purchase the football season tickets but will not fund them on a new outfit for every game. In addition, you may agree to pay for their gas and groceries, but their entertainment and eating out is on them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *