Students learned how to manage their finances and get a head start on their futures from Maggie Burkhead, director of Eastern’s TRiO program, at “How Not to be Young, Dumb and Broke”
“How many of you in here would like to retire as a millionaire?” Burkhead asked the audience. “Well, I’m going to show you how to make it happen.”
Burkhead even provided students with a budget sheet.
“You get pizza, Taco Bell, Jimmy John’s and brand new clothes — you can budget,” Burkhead said.
Burkhead became inclined to put together the lecture when she saw some of her TRiO students having to write letters of appeal for their financial aid. She wants to help other students prevent this from happening to them.
“Some students are first-generation college students and don’t know how to apply for financial aid or don’t have parents that will co-sign for them,” she said. “It’s important to start practicing good spending habits now. Students need to learn how to balance their finances and to become responsible, tax-paying citizens in order to retire comfortably.”
Burkhead advised students to get a loan if they need it, as it would be an investment in their education, but not to borrow more than what they need because of rising interest rates.
She told students to be selective and to look for lenders that offer students lower interest rates.
Students will have to start paying back loans six months after graduation or if they decide to stop attending school, Burkhead said.
“You can file a hardship payment plan if you really aren’t making enough to meet your loan payments,” Burkhead said.
Another option Burkhead talked about was financial aid.
Sometimes, financial aid does not go through because of factors such as a GPA below a 2.0 or a low course completion rate.
There is a financial aid calculator on Eastern’s financial aid website, and students can appeal a financial aid rejection.
Burkhead reminded students that March 15 is the scholarship deadline for most students at Eastern, and that March 1 is the deadline for students in TRiO.
“I knew a young man who applied for everything that he could find and he got everything. It can happen. In many cases you only need a 2.0,” Burkhead said.
Another financial woe Burkhead said students need to watch out for is identity theft.
“Don’t give out your social security number and don’t fall for fake phones calls and don’t get phished by someone wanting to put money into your bank account,” Burkhead said.
One way to save money Burkhead outlined is comparing two or more brands to each other to figure out which is a better deal.
“If you really need it, go back tomorrow. If you don’t, I don’t think so,” Burkhead said.
In terms of credit, Burkhead said students should try to make larger payments at once to avoid paying credit interest.
“I learned (from this lecture) that if you start saving early you’ll make a bigger come up in life,” said Manual Mendoza, a freshman business and marketing major.
Rhonda Rogers, a freshman engineering major, said the lecture helped her understand the importance of scholarships.
“I wish that I’d saved my money and applied for scholarships before attending college. I never learned how to apply in high school,” she said.
Olivia Swenson-Hultz can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]