How educators can prepare college-bound students for financial aid
Thursday, August 19, 2021
As a high-school or post-secondary educator, you have a unique position in teaching your students. They are entering adulthood, where they’ll have a bit more freedom regarding their choices and lifestyles. You help prepare them by teaching them the necessary subjects to get into college and inspire them to choose a career path as you help them hone their skills.
Although mathematics, science, literature, and economics are essential subjects, the skills it takes to properly manage their finances are even more critical, especially when paying for college. The price of a university education is steadily rising. The average cost per year is about $35,000, and it’s more if a student wants to attend a private institution.
Teaching financial management and tuition repayment is one of the best things you can do for your pupils. Here are some tips on how to teach students financial management, prepare them for loans and educate them on tuition repayment.
Teach Them How to Set a Budget
Budgeting is often the first step in financial management. It sets the foundation for the rest of their financial planning. Based on their income, you can teach students how much to set aside for college. Not understanding how to budget can lead them into debt with their college repayment.
Give them a list of essential costs, like room and board, college tuition, school supplies, transportation and personal items. Help them be realistic about their budgeting, and let them know they're not alone in financial problems. From there, they can calculate a budget by listing sources of income, estimating expenses and making adjustments so money isn't going out faster than it comes in.
Teach Them to Create Financial Goals
Next, help them set financial goals. Do they want to graduate with minimal debt? Will they be willing to earn an income during the summer and forfeit free time to ensure they can pay for school? Are things like driving a nice car or wearing expensive clothes necessary in comparison to education?
Teach your students how to prioritize their finances. If they don't want to be in debt, they'll have to sacrifice some things to pay for college.
Teach Them About Student Loans
As you know, many students opt for student loans to be able to get a college education. However, they often aren't aware of how to navigate them. Fortunately, you can teach how to prepare students for student loans and how they can pay them off faster. Loans are one of the most popular methods of paying for college, so here are some things to teach your students:
- Pay more than the minimum
- Work a few extra hours to put money toward them
- Refinance your loans
- Choose a job that pays for student loans
- Pay more often than once per month
With these tips, your students will learn how to earn financial freedom faster.
Teach Them to Apply for Scholarships
Many students automatically assume loans are the only way to pay for college. However, that's not always the case. Many other funding options don't require a repayment plan. One of those is through scholarships, which are incredibly beneficial even beyond providing financial aid.
High schools and colleges often offer scholarships. Provide your students with lists of those available through your high school. Additionally, encourage them to apply for scholarships through their college and help them navigate how to fill out applications and write a solid essay. You can even provide them with recommendation letters.
Teach Them How to Repay Their Tuition
You also should know how to teach students about tuition repayment. It may take up to 20 years after your students graduate from college, depending on what kind of financial aid they had and which school they attended. However, they will have to pay it back.
Not all debt is bad debt. Loans help your students pay for a degree so they can hopefully increase their income. They're using debt to invest in themselves. It's during repayment where that good debt can turn into bad debt. Remind them to make regular payments, set a budget, create priorities of what to pay for and use tax refunds or bonuses to put toward their repayment.
Make Financial Freedom a Goal
As a high school educator, you can help your students prepare for college by teaching them how to manage their finances to pay for college. Financial literacy is one of the most essential skills someone can have, and it will help your pupils lead successful lives.
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