For millions of high school students, graduation is right around the corner. As one chapter of their life closes and another one begins, they are faced with college planning and new financial responsibilities. While taking the SATs/ACTs and campus visits are an important part of the preparation process, college financing is just as critical.
It’s no secret that college can be expensive. According to the College Board, the average tuition cost and fees in 2013-2014 were $22,203 for out-of-state residents and $8,893 for residents at public colleges. But what about the non-tuition college expenses and financial considerations like books, meals, housing, campus events/activities, cell phone plans, home visits and insurance? These are important considerations for both students and parents and Wells Fargo can help.
There are many resources available for parents and students to learn about college planning, but few paint a comprehensive picture of financing and how it works. Just recently, Wells Fargo launched a new, interactive platform, the Get College ReadySM website, to help parents and students estimate what their financial needs might be as they begin their planning journey.
A college education can be expensive and there are several financial factors to consider. It is important for both parents, and students, to understand their financial situation, options and needs. Wells Fargo’s new interactive Get College Ready website offers a holistic approach to help parents and students understand a realistic outlook of how much college can cost and how to cover expenses.
This website includes many interactive and informative features, including an online quiz, a step-by-step video series and the CollegeSTEPS® magazine. Among the interactive tools, the site includes a College Cost Calculator that helps calculate and determine how much money students may need to borrow annually for college.
Establishing and managing credit for the future
There are many things students need to consider as they transition to college, including how to build and responsibly manage credit—both are key in creating a healthy financial future. Responsible credit management today can help secure financing for big ticket items or achieve other financial goals in the future.
One way to start building credit is by putting their apartment and utilities in their own name and regularly paying bills on time. Students who have credit cards should pay their bill on time and not exceed their credit limits. Access to credit cards can be very convenient when making payments online and over the phone. However, students who are just starting their credit history need to carefully manage payments. To manage good credit, it’s important not to go over the limit and make at least the minimum payments on time each month.
"Having good credit is an important part of building a strong financial future," explained John Rasmussen, head of Wells Fargo’s Education Financial Services. "Our hope as a responsible lender is to provide college-bound students and their families with a holistic view of the small pieces that make up planning for college – including providing financial education to help them make responsible credit decisions."