College is a time where students begin to make more financial decisions—it’s all a part of the adulting process. It’s important to understand your financial decisions impact you right now and into your future, and not all students are equipped with the skills and resources to make informed financial decisions, but that is why we gathered a few resources to help. Check out the tips and resources below that can help you during college and after graduation.
Virtual Financial Wellness Program
The GradReady platform is available to all Pitt students and provides YouTube–style video tutorials on paying for college, managing money, repaying student loans and preparing for life after college. It’s perfect if you’re on the go and provides resources to help you develop your financial plan. To access the site, follow these instructions.
- Visit GradReady
- Create an account using your Pitt email
- Select the Greensburg campus during the registration process
- View the short modules on paying for college, money management, or real word finance
The first and most important step to managing money is to develop a budget. A budget is a financial plan that estimates your income and expenses over a specific time period (2 weeks, month, semester). The goal of creating a budget is to prepare for your upcoming expenses, to give your dollars a mission, and to avoid overspending, which often leads to fees that lower your income and contribute to financial stress. To help you understand how to budget, we suggest that you view GradReady’s budgeting video and budgeting tool under Path 1. Additional resources to help you prepare a budget are listed below:
- Explore the best Budget System for you
- Mobile Budgeting Apps
- Budgeting with Microsoft Excel Sheets
- Check resources available through your financial institution
The second step to managing money is to develop a savings plan. After creating a budget, use a portion of your remaining income to create a savings plan for financial emergencies and for your financial goals. It can be tempting to spend all of your income and choose to save later in life, but saving now ensures you will be prepared for emergencies and future opportunities. Financial experts suggest that individuals save 10-20% of their income, but starting small helps as well. Some common financial goals among college students are to study abroad, build a savings account, purchase textbooks/supplies, or purchase a car. Below are some tips to begin saving. Also, we suggest that you view GradReady’s Banking Basics under Path 2 for tips on banks accounts and saving.
Credit and Credit Cards
As college students, it is important to understand how credit works before accessing it. Many individuals first become exposed to credit during their collegiate years. Credit is the ability to borrow money or purchase goods and/or services with the understanding that you will repay a lender at a later date. If credit is managed correctly, it will result in having access to financing options, the best rates, and low fees throughout your financial life. Of course, if credit is managed poorly, it hurts an individual’s financial capability. Credit cards and student loans are the most common type of credit for students. We want you to manage your credit correctly. We suggest viewing GradReady’s Path 2 Credit Basics videos for guidance on credit.
Student Loan Repayment
Student loans allow you to borrow money to pay for your education with the expectation that you will repay what you have borrowed. It is important to be aware of the repayment guidelines for each student loan you have borrowed. We understand that student loan repayment can be confusing. The main thing to remember is you have options in managing student loan repayment. We suggest viewing GradReady’s Manage Your Repayment video series in PATH 3 Real World Finance. GradReady also provides an Electronic Loan Counselor tool to help you keep track of your student loans and estimate your future repayment plan. Check out the additional resources we have provided to help guide you:
- Understanding Federal Student Loan Repayment
- Federal Student Loan Repayment Estimator (Loan Simulator)
- Know Your Options
- What to do if you are Struggling with Repayment
- Understand Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge
Financial Plans after Graduation
Financial plans start to look a little different as you approach graduation and life after college. You go from managing money on a college student’s budget to negotiating salaries, comparing health insurance plans, selecting retirement plans and investment strategies, and acquiring assets. As you prepare for post-graduation and career plans, we encourage you to visit the career services office. We also encourage you to view GradReady’s Real World Finance video series under PATH 3 for topics that include loan repayment, car buying, retirement, healthcare, investments, and more. Check out the below resources as well: