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Student Life

Financial Literacy – From Backpack to Briefcase

Financial Literacy is the ability to understand your financial aid, your credit worthiness, and how money works in general, both while at Lake Forest College and after graduation. This page provides free resources to help you learn about financial aid, tools to help you manage your money, and skills to help you manage your money well!

You can learn about financial literacy two ways:

  1. One-on-one meeting with your financial aid expert  
  2. Online resources (see below)

How to Pay for College  

What is a grant?

A grant is usually awarded based on “financial need” and does not need to be repaid. Grants come from several sources including the College, some states, and the federal government.

http://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/finaid/grants.php

 What is a scholarship?

Scholarships do not need to be repaid. Scholarships offered to Lake Forest College students are good for four years or eight semesters (it could be different if you are a transfer student). You must be enrolled full-time and obtain a minimum 2.0 GPA.

There are several outside scholarships available to students. During the 2015–2016 academic year, Lake Forest students received nearly $400,000 in scholarship from private sources.          

https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/finaid/scholarships/outside.php         

What do I need to know about loans?    

Educational loans are available from a variety of sources, allowing students and/or parents to borrow funds that can pay some or all college costs. It is important to understand the loan terms, interest rate, repayment and how to borrow responsibly.

http://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/finaid/loans/

Be sure to keep these tips in mind: 

-Borrow responsibly 

Understand your loans, how much have you borrowed, how much you will borrow and what can you do to owe less after graduation: Financial awareness counseling: www.studentloans.gov

Tip: Some students save money by using a book voucher instead of adding loans to pay for books. A voucher gives you the opportunity to pay for your books throughout the semester.                                   

-Pay interest while in school 

How much have I borrowed and who is my servicer? 

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/

 -Repayment Estimator

 This tool helps you estimate your loan repayment after graduation. Understanding how much your payments will be might help you plan better for the future.

https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/mobile/repayment/repaymentEstimator.action

How to Manage Your Hard-Earned Money

Creating a Budget

 Do you know how to create a budget?

  1. Determine the time span of your budget: Weekly, monthly, per semester and/or academic year
  2. Choose a tool to help you manage your budget: Notes, Excel spreadsheet, online budgeting tools 
  3. Review your monthly income 
  4. Identify your expenses
  5. Balance your budget: Total income – total expenses = positive or negative.
  6. Maintain and update your budget as necessary.

Click here for a sample budget sheet you can use to help you get started

Click here for more detailed information on how to create, manage, and update your budget

Here are two other online resources to help you manage your money:

http://www.smartaboutmoney.org/Tools-Resources/Calculators

http://www.360financialliteracy.org/Calculators

Establishing Good Credit

Like your grade-point average, which is calculated based on classroom results, a positive credit history will result in a favorable credit score. A higher credit score indicates that you are a good credit risk and helps ensure that you get better credit terms later on to buy a house or a car (USAFunds). 

Do you know what FICO means and stands for? FICO Scores are the credit scores most lenders use to determine your credit risk. Click here to estimate your FICO score and learn more about what it means.

Here are some resources that provide more information on how to establish good credit, and how bad credit can have a serious impact on your options in the future:

  1. Credit Report Quick Reference Guide
  2. Credit Management Glossary
  3. What Determines my Credit Score?

Click here to learn more about establishing good credit: choosing the right credit card, knowing what affects/benefits your credit score, things that help you develop good credit such as pay bills on time, credit inquiries, or check your credit score yearly.

For more information about the information provided on this page and to discuss what you learn, please contact the Office of Financial Aid  We are always happy to help!