5 Things College Families Can Do Now to Have More Cash Next Semester

The fall semester is winding down, exams are finishing up, and parents with college students are likely moving them home for a few weeks of winter break. If you are still recovering from the sticker shock of the first semester--you are not alone! College is expensive! Even if your child has scholarships or a part-time job during the semester, they may still be looking for ways to spend a little less in the spring semester. Are you sending your child back to college after winter break? Here are some things you can do now to save money or make a little money for next semester.



Take Advantage of the University's Free Resources. Take some time to learn about the free resources that your child's college or university offers. Many students save on course textbooks and materials by borrowing books from the university library or community libraries in the university's network. The university likely has a free tutoring service, career assistance--sometimes even offering free headshot photos or interview clothing--and a wealth of free or discount entertainment tickets and activities that can save your student money.


Use Winter Break to Find a Part-Time Job or Paid Internship. Paid summer internships or part-time campus jobs are available--but may require some legwork on the part of your student to track them down! Set a goal of applying for a certain number of positions every week--or making a certain number of connections or contact emails. Finding a part-time campus job that works around a class schedule can help lighten the expenses a bit, while securing a paid summer internship serves double duty through experience and cash flow for next school year! 

Revisit the Scholarship Search. Scholarships are not just for incoming freshmen! Older college students can use winter break to find scholarships they may qualify for or grants they didn't know existed. Use the time to write essays and apply for private scholarships to take a look at university scholarships or grants for activities like studying abroad or special research projects.  

Revisit the Budget. Or set a budget if that was missing from the to-do list the last time you sat down with your student before fall classes. Take a serious, honest look at where the money went during the previous semester--and take a more serious look at ways to make expense cuts next semester. Food delivery fees are always easy to cut and may be surprisingly higher than expected! 


Consider Additional Help with the Cash Flow. If you have sat down and thoughtfully laid out the budget cards, looked for jobs, cut costs, and made plans for next semester--but still feel like you will be coming up short--it isn't unreasonable to consider loans if the end result makes it make sense. We all know that traditional loans exist for students and credit-qualified parents. You can also find some short term personal loans of varying amounts for those struggling with bad credit or just needing a little boost to overcome minor shortages. 

Winter break gives families a little time to regroup--especially if they are new to college life! Just a few weeks give families time to look at the past few months and see what went well and what idn't work! Even if things were mostly okay, there is likely still room for improvement. Making a plan early during break gives everyone a little time to complete necessary actions and still have some downtime before it's back to school in January!


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