College is an investment in your future. The below FREE resources are to assist students in making better-informed financial decisions before, during, and after college. These tools should increase your knowledge of college costs and affordability, financial aid options, budgeting and saving, and managing and minimizing loan indebtedness. The goal is for financial literacy to become an invaluable set of skills that helps you navigate school and life.
GradReady is a personal finance resource provided by UW Colleges for students who want to learn more about managing their finances. GradReady is comprised of three main sections that will guide you throughout your college career and beyond:
- Paying for College
- how to help fund your college education through completion of the FAFSA
- introduction to federal student loans and smart borrowing
- creating and maintaining a monthly budget, including savings strategies
- information on off-campus living and making ends meet
- Money Management
- understanding banking services and balancing your account
- credit fundamentals, including building credit and understanding credit reports/credit scores
- gauging your debt through review of salary expectations compared to borrowing (including student loan borrowing)
- identity theft overview and prevention
- Real-World Finance
- managing and organizing your students loans
- review of student loan repayment plan options and what to do if you are struggling with repayment
- future finances, from paychecks to investing and retirement planning
- home buying and mortgage basics, as well as, other major post-college purchases
Financial Awareness Counseling
The U.S. Department of Education’s Financial Awareness Counseling provides tools and information to help you understand financial aid and assist with managing your finances. This is a good resource for anyone who is currently paying for or planning to pay for higher education. You will need your FSA ID, the same one used with the FAFSA, to access the site.
CashCourse is a financial education resource designed specifically for college students through input from universities and real students. CashCourse equips students with the skills necessary to cultivate positive money management habits and build a healthy financial future. Topics include budgeting, understanding credit, useful financial worksheets, student loans, dealing with life events, and much more.
National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
Tracking your student loan borrowing is easy with the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). NSLDS is the U.S. Department of Education's database for student aid and provides a centralized, integrated view of a student’s federal loan borrowing and federal grant usage. Use NSLDS to:
- identify the types of student loans you have (subsidized and/or unsubsidized),
- track how much student loan debt you have and the interest rate on your outstanding loans,
- identify your student loan servicers and locate their contact information for repayment, and
- monitor Federal Pell Grant usage (lifetime limit is 600%).
Click "Financial Aid Review" once on the NSLDS site. You will need your FSA ID to access NSLDS.
Before you contact your federal student loan servicer to discuss repayment plans, you can use the U.S. Department of Education’s Repayment Estimator to get an early look at which plans you may be eligible for and see estimates for how much you would pay monthly and overall. To view estimates based on your actual student loan information, you will need to log in using your FSA ID. Otherwise, you may still use the site by adding your loans manually or using average loan balances.