With your student, determine your family's financial resources, looking at college savings accounts, your current incomes, and the amount you're willing to borrow. It's good to involve your student so that you can decide together what makes sense.

College websites list their specific costs for tuition, room and board, and fees, and estimated costs for books, supplies, and miscellaneous expenses. Families have discretion in managing the variable expenses, so it's important to identify each one and determine how to handle it. Sit down with your student and determine what's really needed and what's a luxury.

Be sure to include these expenses in the conversation:

  • Books, fees, and supplies
  • Health insurance
  • Transportation
  • Athletics, sororities and fraternities, and clubs
  • Laptop
  • Smartphone
  • Printing/photocopying
  • Refrigerator and/or microwave
  • Rugs, extra-long sheets, lamps, and other dorm-room items
  • Toiletries and cleaning products
  • Laundry supplies
  • Groceries and snacks
  • Social outings

After estimating your student's college expenses, discuss who'll cover which ones, and where the money will come from. There's no one rule that fits all—it depends on your family.

Students may pay for their miscellaneous expenses with their summer earnings, or through a part-time job during school. This gives students the opportunity to make good choices—they're closest to the situation and can compare costs.

Sun Federal CU can help with college financial planning and budgeting. Call (800) 786-0945 or stop in today!