The start to a new year is a time for beginnings. New courses, internship opportunities, and the fees and bills that coincide with these beginnings. I am quickly transitioning into the “real” world during this new year as I approach the beginning of a spring internship and a hunt for a senior year apartment. I have realized that I have little knowledge of how to handle my own personal finances as I take on these new opportunities and the costs that come along with them. However, I know that I am not the only student with a financial burden. USA Today reported on a 2015 U.S. Bank survey of 1,640 college students that concluded the students gave themselves a “C” grade in accordance with how they manage their own money. After entering college and obtaining a sense of freedom, some students put their futures on hold and resort to family for help with maintaining and paying off personal finances. Students look for guidance during financial situations such as applying for a credit card, finding a first apartment and leasing or purchasing a car. The most recent National Student Financial Wellness Study (NSFWS) reports that more than 72 percent of 18,795 students from four-year public, four-year private and two-year public institutions in the U.S. and Canada “feel stress regarding their personal finances.” Multiple studies have been conducted in recent years due to an increase in poor financial behavior among college students as a result of financial illiteracy. The 2015 Money Matters on Campus report conducted by education technology company EverFi, Inc. and sponsored by financial technology company Higher One reveals how 42,000 first-year college students from across the country handle their current finances and prepare for the future. On the subject of credit cards alone, the report shows that students enrolled in college during the 2014-15 academic year were more likely than students enrolled in college in 2012 to have a credit card, or multiple credit cards. The report also found that students were also more likely to pay credit card bills late and have larger balances compared to students in 2012. Overspending or losing track of finances may not derive from a lack of caring. It can also be the result of a lack of knowledge. Seton Hall has teamed up with SALT, a free online resource where students can gain knowledge for managing their personal finances. The SHU website says SALT allows Seton Hall students to manage student loans in one place, get advice from student loan counselors, and find scholarships, internships and jobs. SALT allows students like me to overcome our financial illiteracy with tips on how to keep track of and maintain our limited college budget. Leah Carton is a junior Public Relations major from Keyport, NJ. She can be reached at leah.carton@ student.shu.edu.
Splitting the bill: The cost and student knowledge of finances