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Set Yourself Up for Financial Success
this School Year
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Guest Writer
Posted August 30, 2019
Starting a new school year is exciting! Now is a great opportunity to take actions that will set yourself up for financial success this year. Here are a few tips that can help you prepare financially.
Tip #1: Create a Budget
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Creating a budget will help you see where your money is going and if you need to make some adjustments to make sure you have enough to cover your needs. Maybe you decide you need to limit eating out to twice a week to stay within your budget. Here is a resource that can help you create a budget,
Tip #2: Save Money for Books and Course Supplies
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Each term students have out‐of‐pocket expenses for books and other course supplies. Being prepared for these costs in advance will help you stay away from borrowing or using credit and paying interest charges in addition to the cost of your supplies. Try to set aside a little bit each month before the beginning of each semester to help with these costs.

Another reason to save for these costs in advance is that financial aid may not apply to your account immediately. For example, although a student may receive federal workstudy as a part of their financial aid, workstudy does not pay directly to a student’s bill. They must apply for a job and earn workstudy through a paycheck.
Tip #3: Enroll in 15 credits
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Enrolling in 15 credits per semester would allow you to graduate in 4 years if you are completing a bachelors degree. Taking less than 15 credits and attending for 5 years adds a significant amount of cost to your degree. It requires another year of housing and the possible need to borrow additional loans to cover those costs. Also, it delays your entrance into the workplace another year where you could be earning a paycheck and saving towards retirement.

Next year Michigan State is moving to block tuition for undergraduate students where you would pay the same tuition amount whether you are enrolled in 12 credits or 15 credits. Don’t miss out on the credits you could be earning. 
Tip #4: Part‐time Employment
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Working part‐time can help you pay for college expenses and lower the amount of student loans you may need to borrow. Several studies have indicated that students who work part‐time while in school do better academically as well. There are many jobs available on and near campus.

Michigan State students can visit for more information on applying for part‐time jobs.

Tip #5: Scholarships
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Scholarship opportunities occur year‐round. Scholarships can lower your cost to attend college and they do not have to be repaid after graduation. It may take a little work to apply, but it is worth it. Look out for applications, search online, and ask your academic department when their scholarship deadline is so you can be prepared to apply.

Students at Michigan State can also search MSU’s Online Scholarship Database at

Tip #6: Apply Early
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The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA®) for 2019‐2020 will be available on October 1, 2018 at Some financial aid funding does run out or requires a FAFSA by the state recommended deadline of March 1, 2019.

It is also important to turn in documents that are required for financial aid as early as possible. This helps to ensure your funds are available in time to pay your bill.
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