ACCC Offers Financial Advice for College Students

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National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling shares some important tips on being financially successful throughout college.

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College is an exciting new phase when students are able to experience so many new things, often including living on their own for the first time.

College is an exciting time but one that can also create new financial stresses and worries for students who are now living on their own. This added freedom and responsibility comes with a cost as students realize the day-to-day items that they need, and in some cases want, to purchase. In an effort to provide students with helpful financial advice, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling has provided students with tips on how to keep their spending under control and avoid unnecessary debt.

“College is an exciting new phase when students are able to experience so many new things, often including living on their own for the first time,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “Even though some college expenses are included through tuition and fees, they don’t include things such as toiletries, medication and weekend activities – and those costs can add up. That’s why we’re providing tips on how to stay financially stable during college.”

In a survey by Ohio State University, 60 percent of the 19,000 respondents were concerned about having enough money to continue paying for college. In the same survey, 38 percent of college seniors said that their economic concerns were interfering with their academic performance.

American Consumer Credit Counseling provides financial advice for college students:

1.    Budgeting – Developing a realistic and manageable budget is a lifelong skill that is essential for anyone in college or preparing to go to college. Start by using a budgeting worksheet to get an accurate picture of your income and expenses. By comparing and contrasting your total income and expenses, you will be able to create a feasible budget plan. By sticking to your budget, you will avoid unnecessary consumer debt.

2.    Wisely Choose a Bank / Credit Card – Consider your specific banking needs and services, not just the freebies you’ll receive when you open an account. Think about location. Is there a bank that is in both your college town and hometown? Don’t forget to see if there are any fees associated with your account or card. Use the Bank Account Comparison and Choosing Credit Card worksheets in ACCC’s College Financial Workbook.

3.    Use Credit Responsibly – It can be tempting to make purchases with a credit card when you’re short on cash, but make sure you’re not biting off more debt than you can handle. Racking up credit card debt now can severely hurt your credit score and your chances at obtaining other lines of credit in the future. It can also hurt your chances to rent an apartment. Only charge what you can afford to pay back quickly.

4.    Monitor your accounts on a regular basis – Take a few minutes each day to log into your accounts (including bank and credit card accounts) and check for any suspicious activity. This will help safeguard you against any fraudulent charges and potential identity theft. Check out the financial advice on what you should do if at any point you fall victim to identity theft.

5.    Save – Consider retail jobs, paid internships, federal work study jobs, and tutoring to earn and save money while in school. It’s important to save now and for your future – for an apartment after graduation, student loan payments, or relocating for a job. Get any financial advice you can from any and all resources available. The saving by cutting back guide from ACCC is a great resource that can guide you.

6.    Use your Student ID for Discounts – Not only will you need it to enter your dorm, the dining hall, and the library, your student ID can also earn you discounts at hundreds of retailers nationwide. If you are not sure if a company offers a student discount, just ask. Check out the College Financial Workbook for a full list of discounts.

7.    Research the Cheapest Options – From textbooks to meals and clothing make sure you do research online to see what your best options are. Is your textbook available to rent? Is there a used version online or in a store that can be bought at a fraction of the cost? Can you shop more at bargain grocery stores or thrift stores for good deals instead of at department stores?

8.    Be aware of your financial situation – Too many students graduate from college without any idea of how much they’ll have in student loans, or how much they can expect to earn with their first job. Make sure you know how much school costs per year, what your parents are covering, what you’ll be expected to cover, and budget for rent and living expenses accordingly.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  •     For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  •     For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  •     For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  •     Or visit us online at

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to or visit

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