By Abigail Hines | Student Affairs Communications
|For students, college is a portal to independence. For parents, that independence can be less apparent when faced with urgent text messages or calls for help mid-semester. Maybe it’s late-night pizza runs, new credit card payments, or all that bubble tea — your student needs support. So how do you balance student responsibility for financial wellness with your own desire to help? |
At UC Berkeley, we understand managing money at college can be extremely stressful for students — and their supporters. That’s why the university provides numerous free resources to help your student develop financial wellness. The following are some actions your students can take on their path to independence. Your encouragement may be all they need to begin!
1) Set up regular check-ins about financial aid.
In CalCentral, your student can choose to delegate access for you to be able to view their financial aid and billing information. Get more tips on financial aid, scholarships, and how to support your student’s financial literacy by reviewing the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office’s helpful parent guide.
2) Select a bank and open a personal account.
As the official bank of UC Berkeley, Bank of the West offers sixteen ATMs on or around campus in addition to the on-campus staff who work with UC Berkeley students. Your student is not obligated to choose Bank of the West, but the UC Berkeley Student Checking account includes exclusive special offers for them, including no monthly service charges and other perks.
Once your student has opened an account, they may find it helpful to set up direct deposit. This ensures your student can receive financial aid refunds and paychecks from campus jobs as quickly as possible and save the trip to Cal Student Central for a physical check.
3) Establish a budget and determine spending needs.
Help by encouraging your student to set spending guidelines and track their expenses. This may include learning to identify “wants” from “needs,” making meal plans and weekly food budgets, or adjusting spending habits. The Financial Aid and Scholarships Office provides tools to help your student with this like creating a spending plan and estimating your refund or balance due. If “making a budget” is still an amorphous concept for your student, direct them to one of UC Berkeley’s student resources below for help.
4) Connect with UC Berkeley’s student-to-student financial counseling program.
Peer mentors can help your student navigate their personal finances, answer basic money management questions, and help create a personal spending plan in a comfortable setting.
5) Take advantage of the iGrad online personal finance tool, free for Berkeley students.
The online portal empowers students by making financial planning fun and accessible. Additional features of iGrad promote financial health in other ways, including a quiz to understand personal spending habits, resources for finding scholarships, and tips and tricks for managing personal finance.
6) Seek out work-study options.
Work-study jobs are a great option for both financial wellness and career preparation. In addition to extra income, students learn how to write dynamic cover letters and resumes, find major-related work, and gain valuable experience alongside working professionals.
7) Explore one of UC Berkeley’s support programs.
University Health Services provides consultation, nutritional counseling, and resources in multiple areas of student wellness that can impact their finances. Articles like Eating on a Budget/College Edition and Eating Healthy on a Budget suggest additional ways for students to save money while eating healthy.
There’s no better time to encourage your student to take ownership of their financial wellness and independence than right now. Open the conversation with your student today.