Okay, I admit, when I was a college student, I knew some of these tips, but definitely not all of them. Had I, I probably would have saved myself (and my parents) some money when it came to paying for college. Because let’s be honest, everyone wants to save their money for other things and activities. Coincidentally, these tips can also make you more prepared for life after college and you may be able to get there sooner than you think!
#1: Know when your bill is due
Your student spring semester bill is due Tuesday, Feb. 14! If your bill isn’t paid in full by then, you will incur a late fee and interest each month that the balance isn’t paid off. Many students need more time to pay off their semester bill, which is fine, but do know that it will hold you back from being able to register for the next semester’s classes when it comes time to register if you are not enrolled in a monthly payment plan.
#2: Complete your 2023-24 FAFSA
Complete your FAFSA for next academic year NOW. You don’t need to wait until you or your parents taxes are complete as the income information asked for will be from your 2021 taxes. UWSP’s summer 2023 semester goes off 2023-24 FAFSA information, so if you want to be eligible for summer 2023 aid, fill it out soon! Also, if you don’t think you will qualify for aid, fill it out anyway! It doesn’t take long and some students are surprised when they find out they are actually eligible for aid they didn’t even know about!
#3: You can file a financial aid appeal – easily
If you and/or your family’s financial situation has changed since your 2020 taxes (things like job losses, a significant decrease of income, deaths, divorce/separation, high medical/dental expenses not covered by insurance), you can file a financial aid appeal to have your 2022-23 FAFSA information re-evaluated by the UWSP Financial Aid and Veteran Services Office. This may make you eligible for additional funding and filing an appeal will never make your aid package less!
#4: Know how tuition is charged
Find ways to make your university bill cheaper. For example, maximize the 12-18 credit tuition plateaus of fall and spring semesters (this is where you pay the same price to take up to 18 credits as you would pay for taking 12 credits). The summer term tuition plateau is 6-9 credits. By utilizing these plateaus, you can save money over the long-term by graduating on time or even early! However, an important thing to note is that you should only take the number of credits that you can feasibly handle where your grades do not suffer.
#5: A little (graduation) planning can go a long way
Reach out to your academic adviser and ask to sit down with them to make a graduation plan. This is helpful for many reasons. You can determine if you are on track to graduate according to your personal goal. It also allows you to see if you’d end up with a lone semester of 3-9 credits remaining. You may find a way to add another class into a few semesters or decide to take a summer term to give you an earlier graduation date than you had originally planned for. Also, be open to utilizing summer semesters if possible and think about coinciding other important life necessities around your graduation date (such as when your housing lease is up; you don’t want to sign a new lease only to graduate a few months later if you don’t plan on staying where you’re at!) Time is money!
If you would like to sit down with me or a peer ambassador to craft up a graduation plan or go through your questions, we’d be happy to help you! These next 3 weeks are a perfect time in advising to help you get your graduation plan figured out. To set up a meeting with me, use my Bookings link or set up a Peer Advising meeting.