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Affording college during a recession

The economic downturn of the past several months has affected businesses and institutions across the country, and the administrators at the University of Minnesota know that students and families are feeling the results on a personal level.

You and your student can take these steps to keep costs low:

  • Graduating in four years or less for most majors. By taking an average of 15 credits per semester, working with an academic adviser, and routinely checking on progress toward a degree, students can graduate in four years. Each additional semester costs more in tuition, housing, student fees, and other expenses, and delays entry into a professional career. By some estimates, delaying graduation results in a loss of lifetime earnings in excess of $250,000.
  • Working moderately during the college years. Work study and on-campus jobs help students organize their time. Research has shown that working 10 to 20 hours a week (less as a freshman while making the transition to college) does not negatively impact student success and often is a positive factor.
  • Using credit cards wisely and reducing lifestyle costs, such as car expenses, lattes, snacks, and overdue fines.
  • Applying online for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If your family experiences a significant change in income or financial status, please have your student call the OneStop office, 612-624-1111, as soon as possible. For suggestions on talking to your student about college finance, please see the Seminar for Parents: College Finance.