As a freshman at UWL, money can become a major stressor. I’d be lying if I said it was the only stressor. With midterms coming up, life can sometimes seem like you’re running constantly just to keep up with it all. But always lingering in the background is the inevitable: tuition payments. Maybe you got lucky and won a few scholarships back in high school, or maybe your parents saved up some, giving you some padding for a few semesters. But chances are, you’re like many of your peers, and have to start looking into some financial planning.
So what can you do to make your financial situation a little more secure? After working at the Financial Aid Office for a bit, I’ve come to the realization that you actually have a lot of options! First off, obviously, you can get a job. This can seem like a lot, as we all know college isn’t exactly the lightest load in the world, but many on campus positions are aware of that. They often work around your schedule, and understand that of course, school should come first. They may not be the most hours, and you might not make much more than minimum wage, but every bit goes a long way.
Another option is (plug incoming) scholarships! There are so many scholarship opportunities out there, and people who can help, if it all seems a bit daunting. Consider stopping by a workshop or two, we have them three times a week after all, or perhaps you could stop in for one of the many presentations we have! However, if you’re feeling more confident, you can always try your luck on your own. You can go through our Scholarship Resource Database here. And remember, you can always look through UWL’s own scholarships, called UWL Foundation Scholarships! You can find that right here!
Have you already made a budget? You should! A budget is a major key in figuring out your financial concerns. It may seem like a daunting task, but you also have people who can help you! Check out It Make$ Cents! in 2103 Centennial Hall. They have resources set up for the average student who wants to get more involved in their financial futures. They’re always hosting fun events, with numerous opportunities to win prizes, maybe even a scholarship or two as well! You can check out their site here, or stop in between 8am-4pm Monday through Friday!
If nothing else, there are options for reducing your tuition payments! If you’re organized, responsible, and love helping your fellow students, you can apply to be an RA next year. In being an RA, you receive free room and board, and even earn extra money if high enrollment requires you to have a roommate for the year. However, these benefits can affect your eligibility for some loans, so be sure to double check with a financial advisor beforehand.
Remember to take as many classes as you can manage each semester. Tuition and fees are the same whether you are taking 12 or 18 credits, or anything in between so you might as well take advantage of those free credits.
More than anything, I think the key to a student’s financial success is moderation in spending. Take advantage of free food opportunities, enjoy a trip to the mall once a month rather than once a week, maybe avoid Amazon altogether unless absolutely necessary. Most of these rules are ones I’ve had to learn the hard way in the past month. (Amazon Prime is a dangerous thing.) But now I have confidence that I can make better overall financial decisions, and I hope you guys will be able to as well.
Have a great weekend UWL!