The sticker price of college is scary to look at, but financial aid and scholarships help with the cost, and you can figure out some kind of budget you plan to stick to for the next four years. However, many students don’t realize how many expenses there are outside of the obvious tuition and room & board. The good thing is that your school probably offers help in these areas as well, even if they are not as well advertised. You just have to know where to look.
Talk to older students, or ask your advisor if there is any special help towards paying for textbooks. If your school has a Student Aid Society, check with them. Most importantly, try to give at least a quick glance to all the emails you receive so you don’t miss out on this kind of opportunity. Wellesley College’s Student Aid Society gave every first year who received financial aid a gift card to the bookstore, and older students on financial aid received Amazon gift cards. Many students missed this chance because they did not see the email, and missed the deadline.
Your school most likely has some kind of closet where students can donate clothes for other students to take. Find out where this is, and see if there is anything you need. This is an especially useful resource if you need professional clothes for an interview or important meeting. Or, if you are going to school in a much colder climate than you moved from, this is a great resource to find some essentials that you forgot to pack, or did not realize that you needed.
When you’re a college student who doesn’t make much money or have much in savings, even a relatively small surprise expense can wreak havoc on your finances. Say your phone breaks, or your computer needs to be repaired. You probably rely on both of these items every day, and need them fixed quickly. In this kind of emergency, a short term loan would be helpful, so that you can get your devices repaired and be able to use them for note-taking and homework. Talk to your school’s financial aid office, who will probably be able to point you to a student aid society or similar organization.