As you prepare to take your final college classes and collect your hard-earned degree, don’t forget that soon you will be supporting yourself financially and, if you have student loans, beginning to repay that debt. Here are some financial to-dos before you leave campus.
1. Pay Outstanding Items
Check with the financial services office or log in to your online account. Have you paid all tuition, fees and charges associated with your college account? Don’t forget campus parking tickets, organizational fees or other charges not reflected on your college bill.
If you owe rent, utilities or other off-campus charges, make sure you’ve taken care of those obligations before you leave campus.
2. Provide Updated Contact Information
If you have student loans, notify your student loan lender or servicer of your new mailing address in accordance with the credit agreements or promissory notes you signed. Keep in mind that customer service for some of your loans may be provided by a different entity than your original lender.
In addition, you may need to provide your updated contact information to the college, U.S. Postal Service, utility providers, landlords or property management companies, driver license or department of motor vehicles, insurers, employers and others.
3. Get Your Student Loans in Order
Take a look at all the paperwork you kept for your student loans, or log in to any online accounts you set up. Also, open—and thoroughly read—any correspondence from student loan lenders or servicers. Be sure you understand when your first payments are due, your payment options and how much you will be required to pay each month.
If you haven’t lined up a job before your first payment is due, contact your lenders and servicers about your options for delaying payment. Understand you are responsible for daily interest accruing on unsubsidized loans during deferment and on all loans during forbearance. Paying at least the accrued interest on a monthly basis will help prevent capitalization, where interest is added to your principal balance and begins to accrue interest as well.
If you have any questions about repaying your student loans, call your lender or servicer. Generally, these organizations are willing to assist you in navigating the complex student loan repayment process.
4. Budget Your Income and Expenses
Make a monthly budget based on your current circumstances.
If you already have a job secured, compare your starting salary to your expected living expenses and student loan payments. Don’t forget that part of your paycheck will go toward taxes and other required deductions as well as optional benefits such as retirement and medical insurance.
If you haven’t been hired in your field yet, detail your monthly expenses and come up with a plan to pay for them. You may need to explore lower level or part-time jobs until you land your desired career.
5. Get Cash for Goods
Before you leave campus, sell what you won’t need again. This includes current textbooks, furniture, electronics and other items. Your campus area may offer several social media sites to advertise your belongings to next year’s students.