What is financial literacy?
Financial literacy is defined as:
- The ability to read, analyze, manage and communicate about the personal financial conditions affecting material well being.
- The term is used to describe financial education programs on college campuses and within high schools. The objective of financial literacy programs is to help students better manage their finances,budget effectively, and borrow wisely.
Smart financial management includes a few basic good habits. If you are a student, you may already have a checking account, a credit card, or maybe even a car loan. When heading off to college, you may also need to borrow student loans to help finance your education. But have you determined your financial goals and established good financial habits? Here are a few tips to get you started.
Steps you can take now to get on the right financial path
- Take charge of your spending. Establish a budgetPDF Document; set limits and prioritize; determine the difference between needs and wants; speak with a professional, nonprofit credit counselor if needed.
- Start saving. The earlier you save, the more you’ll have.
- Understand the costs of credit. Compare at least three offers before you choose a credit card; look for low interest rates and no annual fees; always pay more than the minimum payment.
- Understand how credit use affects your future. Know the difference between good and bad debt; check your credit report annually.
- Protect your credit and your financial future. Beware of identity theft; review statements and notify creditors immediately of errors; know what’s in your wallet/purse.
Planning for Financial Success
Minimize your student loan debt by following these Top 10 ways to graduate debt free.
- Complete the FAFSA annually.
- Qualify for federal grants.
- Research state scholarship and grant programs.
- Apply for institutional scholarships.
- Explore private scholarships.
- Inquire about work programs available on your campus.
- Set up a payment plan for your tuition.
- Secure summer employment.
- Invest in MOST, Missouri’s 529 college savings plan.
- Live like a student now, so you don’t have to later.
The MDHE has published a pamphlet explaining options for defaulted borrowers and what a person can do now to get on a better financial path. Check out an online version at the MDHE website:
The Missouri Department of Education gives basic information regarding financial aid for the upcoming school year. Get information on the FAFSA, loan borrowing, how to calculate your Cost of Attendance, the A+ program, and much more:
Do you know your rights and responsibilities as a student loan borrower? If not, you may read about them on the MDHE website:
Creating a budget that you can stick to is a great way to manage your expenses. Let Bankrate give you tips on how to get started:
The Nelnet Loan Assist mobile app allows you to conveniently make payments and displays upcoming due dates, interest rates, and monthly payments at a glance. Available for both Apple and Android devices.
Are you having trouble making student loan payments? A deferment or forbearance may be the right choice for you. Nelnet describes how they work, the difference between the two and their most common types.
Celebrity Calamity allows you to strengthen your finance skills all while playing a fun, interactive game! You have been hired as the finance manager for a demanding actress who is terrible at controlling her money. Don’t buy items she doesn’t want or you might get fired! Follow the link to check it out:
Some people default on their loans in ways they would have never expected. Watch out for these hidden problems with your student loans:
Nelnet’s Live Life Smart Guide is a complete tutorial on how to effectively manage your money and student loans. Information on student repayment plans, tips on saving money, budget worksheets and much more are compliled into one fun and easy to read guide. Follow the link to the PDF flie: