The start of April brought fools, showers, and financial literacy month. I know I probably get a little too excited about financial aid and financial literacy conversations, but April truly is an important month for student finances in the higher ed world for incoming, returning, and graduating college students.
For incoming students, April is a month filled with pros/cons lists, accepted student days, and soul searching before National College Decision Day. Most have heard back from the institutions they applied to by this point and are tasked with the epic decision of where to go to college. And part of that decision-making process is deciphering and analyzing financial aid award letters and projecting affordability for the next four to six years.
It’s no small undertaking, and financial literacy plays a crucial role in students understanding their aid offers. They have to consider debt levels they’ll take on, set budgeting goals to buy books and supplies, and think about payment options for any remaining balance. In my experience, students can get really hung up with award letters regardless of their financial capabilities or experiences because of how confusing the letters can be, so any leg up financial literacy gives them is essential.
For current college students, in addition to midterms and spring break, financial aid renewal dominates the spring semester. Many schools have priority deadlines for FAFSA and CSS this month, and meeting those deadlines is essential for maximum aid. Even graduating students have to start thinking about student loan exit counseling and repayment plans—as well as the health of their financial futures.
Financial literacy is so important throughout college. Needless to say, I was super excited to attend the Money Matters on Campus report release and panel event last week. In fact, by the end, my neck hurt from nodding so vigorously in agreement with the panelists. Click here for a recap of the event through tweets and articles. I urge you to check out the report and look at trends in student financial attitudes and behaviors because financial literacy truly does matter on campus and everywhere else—throughout the year, but for students, particularly during the spring months.