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We have identified some key online resources, books, courses, and people that can help you understand financial information.

So, what can you do if you are experiencing financial concerns?

Figure out what your biggest concern is. Are you…

  • Searching for ways to prepare for the future?
  • Running out of money and using your credit card at the end of the month?
  • Accumulating student loan debt and wondering what you can do about it?
  • Wondering how you will pay tuition?

Searching for ways to prepare for the future?

The financial choices you make today will impact your future. It is important to learn how to manage your money and debt now. These resources can help.

Online resources

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Want to know how much you might make in different careers? This website provides an A to Z directory of career choices and provides average annual salaries for just about any career. Click on the “A-Z Index” in the middle of the page under “Ways to use the Occupational Outlook Handbook site” or use the search box in the upper right hand corner to find information on any career.

Budget Calculator

The budget calculator will help determine your expenses and estimate your total available income. It gives a basic introduction on how to use the calculator and allows you to enter your earnings and expenses by categories on whatever time scale you would like (e.g., month, semester, year). It then calculates your expenses and your income and lets you know your remaining balance.

Courses to consider

Consider taking Math 034 to learn about personal finance topics. This can be a GQ in your Gen Eds.

Running out of money and using your credit card at the end of the month?

It is important to find ways to alter your spending now. If you keep racking up expenses on your credit card or spending beyond your means monthly, you will find yourself in a lot of debt. These resources can help you manage your finances now.

Online resources

Mapping your Future

This website allows you to access resources specific to being an undergraduate student in college. It provides access to several online calculators. The budget calculator bases your budget on your income after taxes and allows you to estimate your expenses to see how much money you can spend on items. The student loan repayment calculator also provides a way to see how much you can afford to pay in loans based on your predicted entry-level salary.

Budget Worksheet for College Students

This provides a printer friendly worksheet for budgeting monthly.

Monthly Budget Planner from Excel

This excel spreadsheet that you can download for free has categories for you to enter what you spend and it automatically creates a bar graph of your expenses and income. It also calculates the percent of your income that is going toward your expenses.

Brown Bag Savings Calculator

Can you cook more meals for yourself rather than relying on campus food or restaurants? If you pack a brown-bag lunch even one day a week, you can save a lot of money. If you put that money saved into an interest bearing savings you can save even more. Calculate it all here.

Books to consider

Financial basics: Money-management guide for students, By: Susan Knox

This book is written for college students. It talks through some basic financial skills in regard to credit cards, budgeting, spending, debt, building a credit history, and planning for after school. Each chapter begins with a story told by a college student or graduate reflecting on his or her own financial concerns. Then the author discusses how college students like those in the stories, and you as a reader, may fare. At the end of each chapter the author concludes with pieces of advice you might consider for your financial well-being. There is also a chapter to fill in your own thoughts about money to help you think through things. The book is easy to read and focused on problems college students face. (PSU Library has this book to check out)

1000 Best Smart Money Secrets for Students (1000 Best), By: Debby Fowles

This book is written for college students and provides some good tips on saving money, making money, and being smart about spending in college and with loans. It is not a comprehensive guide to managing one’s money or loans. But, it’s a great resource if you are looking for some creative “money tips”. (PSU’s Library has this book to check out if your request it through interlibrary loan)

Accumulating student loan debt and wondering what you can do about it?

Financial advisers recommend not accumulating loan debt that requires you to pay over 8% of your wages in monthly payments over the course of 10 years. Therefore, it is essential to manage the loans you take out now.

Online resources

Loan Debt Summary

If you log onto eLion under “Loan Debt Summary,” you can see the amount in loans you have taken out.

U.S. Department of Education

This website provides information on student loans. It provides information about the process of loans, from applying for loans to repaying them. See these sites for more information about Federal loans and repaying loans. On this site, you can find loan calculators with interest rates and information on how you can defer making loan payments if necessary through deferment, forbearance, or cancellation. It also gives information on loan consolidation (condensing multiple loans to one loan; listed on the left side of the page) and loan forgiveness policies (when the government covers certain loans if an individual works in a public service field for a specified amount of time).

Penn State’s Office of Student Aid

This website can be used to calculate your tuition costs given residency, major, and number of credits you are taking so you can plan for your loans. When you are on the student aid site, click on “Penn State’s Costs” at the top of the screen, then “College Cost Calculator” and enter your information. Or, go directly to this link, and enter in your information.

In-School Financial Budget Calculator

This budget calculator takes a bit of thinking through but it helps you calculate how much in loans you will have to take out to make ends meet. You can enter in your yearly tuition costs, your monthly expenses, and your earnings. It will then calculate: your yearly personal expenses, your yearly academic expenses, and your remaining balance that you will need to cover either by working more, spending less, or taking out loans to make ends meet.

Books to consider

Take Control of Your Student Loan Debt, By: Robin Leonard and Deanne Loonin

This book is a great resource for understanding your student loans. It gives information about different types of loans and how they work. It is set up for you, as the reader, to navigate the topics however you like, based on your personal questions and concerns. For example, the author suggests certain chapters for you if you have specific concerns about making a budget. If you are also looking for state-by-state specific information on whom to contact if you have questions or concerns about your loans, it provides such information. It also includes some example worksheets in the book to help you calculate your loan debt and your budget. (PSU Library has this book to check out)

Courses to consider

FIN 108: Personal Finance

This finance course covers personal management of budgets, financial services, credit, insurance, real estate, and other basic financial decisions. It is a basic educational course on money management topics that can be taken as an elective. It is a good option if you are looking to learn more about these issues.

Speak with your connections

Talk with your academic advisers about the influence of cost and your financial situation on your education plans.

Talk with your parent(s)/guardian(s) about your student debt concerns.

Wondering how you will pay tuition?

You are in a tough spot. You need help now. Here are the steps you should take: First, go see your HDFS academic adviser. Also talk to your parent(s)/guardian(s) about your problem, even if you know they don’t have the money to give you to help pay tuition. Everyone involved needs to understand there is a real problem and be involved in creating a solution.