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Getting College-Ready Means Thinking About More Than Tuition

While taking the SAT’s/ACT’s and campus visits are an important part of the preparation process, college financing is just as critical.   

By  Casey Galindo Wells Fargo Education Financial Services

It’s no secret that college can be expensive. According to the College Board, the average tuition cost and fees in 2013-2014 were $22,203 for out-of-state residents and $8,893 for residents at public colleges.  But what about the non-tuition college expenses and financial considerations like books, meals, housing, campus events/activities, cell phone plans, home visits and insurance? These are important considerations for both students and parents, and Wells Fargo can help.

There are many resources available from which parents and students can learn about college planning, but few paint a comprehensive picture of financing and how it works. Just recently, Wells Fargo launched a new, interactive platform, the Get College ReadySM website, to help parents and students estimate what their financial needs might be as they begin their planning journey.

A college education can be expensive, and there are several financial factors to consider. It is important for both parents and students to understand their financial situation, options and needs. Wells Fargo’s new interactive Get College Ready website offers a holistic approach to help parents and students understand a realistic outlook of how much college can cost and how to cover expenses.

This website includes many interactive and informative features, including an online quiz, a step-by-step video series and the CollegeSTEPS® magazine. Among the interactive tools, the site includes a College Cost Calculator that helps calculate and determine how much money students may need to borrow annually for college.

Establishing and managing credit for the future

As they transition to college, students need to consider many concepts, including how to build and responsibly manage credit—both are key in creating a healthy financial future. Responsible credit management today can help secure financing for big-ticket items or achieve other financial goals in the future.

One way parents can start building credit is by putting students’ apartment and utilities in their own names and regularly paying bills on time. Students who have credit cards should pay their bills on time and not exceed their credit limits. Access to credit cards can be very convenient when making payments online and over the phone. However, students who are just starting their credit history need to carefully manage payments. To manage good credit, it’s important not to go over the limit and to make at least the minimum payments on time each month. 

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