Office of Student Financial Aid

Providing Dollars for OC Students

Financial Literacy

What is Financial Literacy?

The decision to enroll in college is an exciting chapter in one's life. Oftentimes, the decision to start college comes with questions about finances: housing expenses, managing personal budgets, credit card debt, and sometimes even student loans. Financial Literacy is financial education information available to students to help them make sound decisions about managing finances while balancing the costs of college life. 

Financial Literacy includes several components to being successful and responsible with finances. Within those components: credit card debt, job searching strategies, and managing your personal budget, students should assess their own personal budgets yearly, and as situations change. Whether you are experienced in managing household budgets, or you are brand new to even opening a bank account, being financially literate helps you to get the best benefit in juggling college life.

Credit Card Debt

Managing credit card debt is crucial to being successful in managing your personal finances. Credit card debt should be budgeted and managed monthly. Set a plan to pay off debt in a timely manner, and do not deviate from the repayment plan. Stay on top of your credit report and score, and make sure you are maintaining a good credit score. Credit scores dictate basic life needs such as securing housing, and even employment. Check your Credit Report annually for free.

Job Searching Strategies 

Securing employment after you graduate from college is one of the most important aspects of Financial Literacy; without income, it becomes difficult to stay on top of your finances. Check out the My Next Move website to learn about careers you may be interested in, and what education and skills are necessary to attain those careers. Consider attending local job fairs in the community, work with the campus Career Services department, and use online resources such as careerjet.com and SimplyHired.com to find positions you may qualify to apply for.

Managing Your Personal Budget

Managing your personal budget while in college can become challenging with the cost of textbooks, transportation, and additional supplies. Financial Aid and scholarships may assist with the cost, but you may find yourself having to shuffle other expenses to meet your expenses each month. Check out the Understanding College Costs website to help manage your personal budget and to find out how to reduce the cost of college.

Personal Budget Calculator

See where your budget currently sits: Budget Calculator - College Costs Do your personal expenses need to be reduced? Use the calculator to assess areas in which you believe you can reduce expenses so college can continue to be affordable to you.

Check Your Knowledge!

Complete the Financial Awareness Counseling. To do this, go to the StudentLoans.gov website, log in (you must have your FAFSA pin to access the website. Once logged in, you will be able to learn about any student loan balances you may have, finding information about free money first (grants, scholarships, etc), and also about maintaining work while going to college. The Financial Awareness Counseling will take about 25 minutes to complete, but is well worth your time to help you get a clear picture of managing your finances.

Essential websites:

360FinancialLiteracy.org - A Website provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

CreditKarma.com - A Free Credit Score website

Feedthepig.org - A website provided and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Repaying Student Debt - A Website from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

MyMoney.gov - A Government Website on Financial Literacy

MilitaryHub.com - A Website for Current and Former Military Professionals

YouCanDealWithIt.com - A Website from FedLoanServing (PHEAA) on Debt Management

Last updated: February 4, 2014 KF