Garcia: Thoughts on being broke in college



Julissa Garcia

It sucks being broke. It sucks even more, being broke in college.

As tuition rates rise, college students’ funds become proportionately lower.

Welcome to the life of millennials.

For many students, college is the first time that they have to lead independent lives and not rely on their parents. They learn how to handle different financial situations, from tuition costs to basic living costs – none of which is cheap.

According to a study conducted by the College Board, “The average published tuition and fee price for in-state students enrolled full time at public four-year colleges and universities is $9,650 in 2016-17, $230 (2.4% before adjusting for inflation) higher than it was in 2015-16.”

Four year universities are making it difficult for students to afford attending.For example, Iowa State’s tuition on average for in-state students for the 2016-17 year, is $8,219. On top of this, students have to afford housing costs and paying for daily necessities, like hygiene products and groceries.

According to “Estimate Living Expenses to Determine College Affordability” by Farran Powell, The College Board estimates that the typical living cost for a full-time student attending college during the 2016-2017 academic year ranges from $11,810 on a low budget to $17,620 on a moderate spending plan.”

Nowadays, housing is just as pricey as tuition depending on the school. Many students cut down on living expenses by resorting to the “college diet”: ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With all that spending, you wonder, where is the money for personal/social outings? Well that is what many are still trying to figure out too. When trying to afford paying for school, housing, and living expenses, it’s hard to save money for fun things.

Luckily, there are tips and resources students have turned to, to try to have a little extra money in their pocket.

Scholarships and financial aid is a beneficial resource for many that can be found through their specific school website or by simply filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

For example, Iowa State University offers a tool called the FinAid Scholar, in which it allows students to complete a general scholarship application that can be applied to several scholarships the school offers.

As much as everyone hates working, students have to end up taking a part-time job. It’s the best way to learn some new skills and not be broke. Many universities offer convenient jobs in which, they are flexible with college student’s schedules. For example, Iowa State University offers good options in many service buildings and in the dining centers.

Lastly, here’s some tips or personal experiences on surviving with college expenses, by fellow Iowa State students.

*checks bank account* “No pues, ya valio madre chiquita.” – Guadalupe Casas, junior in civil engineering.

Translation: Oh well, you’re screwed girl.

“Download the Caribou app for perks, you need every dollar you got.” – Elizabeth Chavez, junior in elementary education.

“BUDGET! Don’t spend all of your money at once. Ask yourself if you really need to get that McDonalds or that new shirt.” – Tiffany Contreras, sophomore in psychology.

It’s all about survival, being a broke college student.