Once you and your student have developed a plan to pay for
his or her higher education, you must create a plan to handle the student's
In general, your student should plan on between $100 and
$300 a month in spending money. That will be used on items such as:
- School supplies
- Phone bills
- Eating out and recreation
- Newspapers and magazines
- Postage and stationary
Help your student develop a budget to cover these items.
Stress the importance of maintaining the budget. The following are some tips
for covering a student's daily expenses:
- Develop a budget prior to the beginning of school. Determine who
will supply the spending money. You or your student or both?
- If you're supplying the spending money, will it be sent each month,
each quarter, or each semester?
- Establish a bank account in the town where the student will be
studying. Call the college for names of banks close to where the student
will be staying. Find one that has a good relationship with the school
and a reputation for courteous dealings with students.
- If your student has a checking account for the first time, teach him
or her how to set up and maintain a checkbook.
- Remind your child to keep the checkbook in a safe place.
- If your student will have an ATM card, review the importance of
keeping the card in a safe place and recording all withdrawals in the
- Discuss what will happen if your student runs short of money.
- Record the bank's ABA routing code and the student's account number
in case you need to wire money.
Credit cards are now a fact of life for most adults. The
same is becoming true for college students. Students can now receive a
credit card regardless of their credit history (or lack of one). Some
colleges now have credit counselors to help those students who have fallen
deeply into debt.
If you allow your student to have and use a credit card,
keep these thoughts in mind:
- Make sure that the student understands how to use the credit card in
relation to his or her budget.
- Proper use of a credit card can help a student establish a good
- Over charges and late or missed payments can cause severe damage to
a student's credit rating.
Adapted from a publication from the Minnesota Higher
Education Services Office