DIY Costume Ideas

27 Oct

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

zombies on the street

Photo by: rampant

As fall winds down and Halloween approaches, so does the need for costumes! (But if you’ve been participating in Breakfast Club, you probably have at least one good outfit tucked back somewhere.) There are several different kinds of costume parties from come as whatever (including yourself) to themed parties (like hillbilly or dress as your favorite Star Wars character) to wear whatever you can make at home (human lamp, anyone?). No one wants to shell out a bunch of money on an outfit that’s going to be worn once. Below are a couple cheap staples to have on hand (and that you probably already own) that can work to make a cool (and cheap!) costume.

90s doodle bear

Photo via Pinterest

Bleach Pen

Bleach pens are great because you have pin-point precision to draw with. If you have an all-black outfit, draw stars on it and you can be a galaxy. All-pink? You can be one of those doodle bears from the 90s that you washed and doodled on again and again. Fabric markers work very similar to the bleach pens. Draw whatever you want! One of the nice things about fabric markers is there are different colors. They are also great for ironic/sarcastic tee-shirts. Tee shirt costumes are pretty simple, and tee shirts are really cheap! Besides, it can ripped up for more bloodied looks too.

Cardboard Boxes

Most of us living in apartments have these lying around just from the moving process. Youcan be a Rubic’s Cube, a robot, a Lego, or any other creation you can dream up. Need a pair of wings? Just trace the outline on the box and cut it out.

cardboard robot

Photo by: fanime.com

An Old Sheet

And I emphasis an old one because who wants to sleep on a sheet with an old spill stain on it? You can be cheesy and go as a ghost, or it can be a cape for an impromptu super hero (waffle man, anyone?), It could even be your next toga.

Thick Black Eyeliner

While girls probably have this on hand, guys may not. It’s the perfect tool to draw an animal mask on your face. For a more masculine approach, draw tire treads on your face and have someone run over a tee shirt and you can be road kill.

Plaid Shirt

Maybe you want to be a lumberjack. Maybe you want to be a hipster Disney princess. Maybe you’re a picnic blanket. Your plaid shirt never looked so versatile.

Green Tights

Oddly specific, but a costume essential. You can be so many things: Peter Pan, a woodland faerie, Link (from The Legend of Zelda), mother nature (or something nature-esque) Robin Hood… Green is everywhere!!

Footie Pajamas

Footie pajamas are warm. Most people think of “adult child”, but itcan be far more than that. Wantto be an animal? You have a neck to toe covering! It also works for mythical creatures. Maybe you’re a person hunter and that’s your “kill”.

Flo & Mayhem insurance costumes

Photo by: costume-works.com

Suits

Now if you’re going to the party of the century, maybe your best dress clothes are not a good idea. Do you have dress pants that are just a little too short, a shirt with a hole in it, something that just isn’t quite doing the trick anymore? That would work! You can also go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Suits are great for historical figures, for costume pairs like a runaway groom and a controlling bride, “monkey suits”, and Mayhem costumes.

 

And if none of these work for you, Goodwill and other thrift stores are always awesome places to find costume goodies. Grandpa/granny clothes, 80s prom dresses, scrubs, mom jeans, Daisy Dukes (in the men’s section)… I mean the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination (or your Pinterest searching abilities). So regardless of how many parties there are to attend and no matter how over-the-top your idea, you don’t need to break the bank to create an awesome costume.

What Are You Doing After Graduation?

20 Oct

Amanda Locker, Majoring in Environmental Science at Purdue University

girl gazing at mountains

One of the scariest questions you can ask a college student is, “What are your plans after graduation?”  I mean come on some of us just figured out what to major in! There are many different paths that students decide to go down after graduation. The most common paths that students take would be working full-time or heading off to graduate school.

I’ve started thinking ahead (and laying out my 5- and 10-year plans) and discovered another option students have that many do not know about: volunteering with a service program. There are so many options with service programs like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. These programs aren’t for everyone, but there are many personal and educational benefits that volunteers get from these experiences.

I’m studying abroad next semester to get an intro to living abroad, so I’ll see how that goes and I may adjust my path from there. But right now, I am considering participating in the Master’s International program with the Peace Corps after graduation (Class of 2016!) because of my love for the environment and my passion for helping people. This program gives participants two incredible opportunities by studying for 1-2 years at a partnering college and then serving for two-years at a field project with the Peace Corps using the knowledge I just learned in my Master’s program. A field project is assigned to volunteers based upon the needs and requests of the countries that need help from Peace Corps volunteers. By the time volunteers are done completing their field project, they will have a master’s degree AND two years of international work experience!

Not only do volunteers get a degree and work experience but they also get lots of other benefits that could potentially help save some cash. In many cases, Peace Corps volunteers can qualify for reductions or cancellations on different governmental loans. The most common of these loans are the Federal Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and the Federal Perkins Loan. My loans would qualify for deferment while I would be working overseas. Plus, there’s also the opportunity for participants to receive an education award that can be used to pay back part of their loans.

…but then again, I still have a couple more years to decide. What are your plans for after graduation? Let us know in the comments below!

Student Loan Repayment in the News This Week

16 Oct

Raysha Duncan, Financial Aid Administrator and Purdue Alumna

b-w keyboard hand on mouse

Student loans are all over the news right now. Why? May 2014 grads are rapidly approaching repayment for their student loans! How up-to-date on your loan information are you? (I only have 25 days left in my grace period for my loans! Eek!) Check out www.purdue.edu/loans for basic loan information. You should also log into your account on www.nslds.ed.gov for detailed information on your personal federal student loans.

Once you’ve been contacted by your loan servicer, make sure to create your online account so you can keep up with your loan balance and figure out when your first payment is due. Some servicers offer a reduced interest rate for qualifying borrowers if you set up automatic debit to make your monthly loan payments.

If you have private student loans, you’ll need to check in with your lender about your repayment schedule.

From the web this week:

The Washington Post, A guide to paying off your student loans

Look here for a quick breakdown of the basics. And be sure to check out the short video at the top of the article for a simplified explanation of the different payment plans.

Forbes, What the Sallie Mae Company Split Means for Student Loan Borrowers

Have you gotten an email from Navient recently? (I have!) Sallie Mae created this company to handle their portion of the federal student loan accounts and some of their private loan accounts. In this article, Reyna Gobel explains how this split affects borrowers.

U.S. News, Know When it Makes Sense to Consolidate Student Loans

Considering loan consolidation? Read this first to see if that’s the best strategy for you.

 

MyMoney Powered by Purdue Articles on Student Loans:

Why You Shouldn’t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans by Reyna Gobel

25% Fed Student Loan Borrowers Qualify for Loan Forgiveness – Do You? by Reyna Gobel

The Definitive Guide to Pay As You Earn – A Federal Student Loan Repayment Plan by Reyna Gobel

College Seniors Week 2: Paying Your Loans by Raysha Duncan

Downside of Student Loan Default by Brandon Endsley

Five Tips for Debt Reduction After Graduation by Julie Huser

Why You Shouldn’t Panic About Your Federal Student Loans

13 Oct

From WiseBread New Graduate Help Center: Reyna Gobel, Student Loans Expert

girl surprised by letter

**Note from MyMoney Purdue**This article was posted previously (and semi-recently), but with May graduates grace periods quickly ending, we thought it would be helpful to post again!**

 

Dear Not-Yet-In-Trouble Federal Student Loan Borrower,

You might have heard that the Department of Education will be sending out letters to millions of student loans borrowers. The letters target borrowers whose grace periods are ending, as well as borrowers who exhibit signs of trouble that could lead to defaulting on their loans. If you haven’t started repayment yet but are fretting about how you’re going to possibly repay all that money — stop worrying.

I’m writing you this letter to not only give you important details about student loan repayment, but also to help you be aware of potential issues well before trouble starts.

I Defaulted — Here’s How to Avoid My Mistakes

I defaulted on a federal student loan simply because I didn’t know it existed. I had over a dozen student loans from different lenders; I forgot about one loan and went into default. It’s easy to do, but it’s also easy to avoid. Just log in to theNational Student Loan Data System. You’ll see all your federal student loans on this site, along with contact information. Either arrange to pay each individually, or consolidate them into one loan. This is also a great time to get a free credit report – it can alert you to any problems you might have, like having missed a loan or bill payment.

Then, know yourself. If you can’t keep track of each individual loan, you really need to consolidate them into one loan to streamline payments (ask your loan servicer about consolidation options). Once consolidated, you can still choose a plan where payments are based on income, such as Pay as You Earn. And if you’re interested in the public service loan forgiveness program, know that it’s only available through loans originated by or consolidated with Federal Direct Loans.

Realize That Even With the Pay as You Earn Plan, You Might Have Payment Problems

The income-based Pay as You Earn repayment plan bases payments on your income and family size, but it doesn’t fully consider your expenses if your circumstances change. For example, at some point, you may have to help support a sick parent or child. You could also have bought a home when your income was higher. After a pay cut, a majority of your income could go towards your mortgage.

If you experience a financial setback, you have three options:

  • Call your servicer and see if your Pay as You Earn payment amount can be adjusted. You have to supply your income annually, and you may have forgotten to do so this year, causing your payments to set based a higher income level.
  • Ask for a deferment or forbearance, which are temporary payment breaks. Taking a break should only be done if the situation isn’t permanent. Always take a deferment when possible over a forbearance when any of your student loans are subsidized. The government pays the interest on subsidized student loans during periods of deferment.
  • If your income is lower because you took family leave for six months, you may not want to change your plan. However, for long-term pay cuts where your income-based repayment is too high for your budget, you should ask your servicer to also calculate payment options and see which payment option offers the lowest monthly payment.

Don’t Feel Embarrassed If You Don’t Know Something About Student Loans

I wrote two editions of a 240-page book on student loans, and I still don’t know everything about them. I read articles and play with the student loan repayment calculators every day. There’s always something new to learn. For instance, the public service loan forgiveness employer verification form wasn’t created until after the first edition was released. Now, thanks to that form, you can find out if you qualify for the public service loan forgiveness program right away and register for it right after you start working or after you’ve already started repayment — the choice is up to you. Never be afraid to ask your servicer questions about any of these programs.

Talk to Your Friends Who Are or Will Be in Repayment Soon

I’m not the only person who has experience with and advice about student loans. Talking to your friends can help you figure out repayment options and possibly pick better ones based on their choices and experiences. Just remember, they might have different circumstances than you, such as income level, children, or other debt that impacted their choices. Therefore, you shouldn’t copy their decisions. But you’ll be more informed and learn questions to ask your servicer. Plus, they may have missed payments, recovered, and now have advice about that. Learn from others’ student loan mistakes and victories.

The Most Important Part of This Letter?

The help you get doesn’t end here. You can tweet me anytime — @ReynaGobel— and ask questions. My articles will be posted here every week. You can ask me questions in my CollegeWeekLive web chats or get more helpful advice in my book CliffsNotes Graduation Debt.

Finally, remember you never want to receive a “dear troubled borrower” letter. The second you think you might miss a payment, talk to your servicer about options for a payment break or new repayment plan. With federal student loans, that one call will likely save your credit.

 

Reyna Gobel is a writer, author, public speaker, and student loans expert.  Her financial advice appears on Wise Bread’s New Graduates Help Center, in her video course How to Repay Federal Student Loans, in CollegeWeekLive newsletters and keynotes speeches, and in her audiobook How Smart Students Pay for School, now in its second edition. Be sure to check out her website for more helpful information on repaying your student loans.

Frugal Date Ideas for Fall

7 Oct

Dayna Jones, Peer Counselor

So, you’ve met the boy or girl of your dreams here at Purdue and you’ve finally struck up the courage to ask them out. The only problem is that you’re a college student and money is tight! Fortunately, there are plenty of low to no-cost date options that won’t make you look like a cheapskate. And they’ll probably be flattered by your creativity.

Have a picnic

A picnic is a great alternative to having dinner at an expensive restaurant. You can purchase food on campus (at Fresh City Market, perhaps?) or take the bus to Meijer or Wal-Mart for your picnic needs. Get creative! If you have food lying around your dorm or apartment, make a meal out of it! Don’t let it go to waste. Then, all you need is a cozy blanket and a shady spot to share a meal.

Take a walk or bike ride together

The campus is beautiful this time of year and there are plenty of grounds to explore. You may also want to branch out. Happy Hollow Park in West Lafayette has plenty of trails. Taking a walk together is a great way to spark up a wealth of conversation. If you both have bicycles, you may consider riding your bikes together.

allen leaves on dirt path  text overlay: Frugal Date Ideas for Fall

 

Exercise together

This option may not be everyone’s cup of tea; however, the Co-Rec has plenty of fun options. You don’t have to lift weights or run on the treadmill if you’re not up for it. Explore the rock climbing wall together or go for a swim. You don’t have to break a sweat if you don’t want to!

Share a group date

Pizza, anyone? Group dates are a great way to cut costs because you can split the bill. This is also a good way to get to know one another without the awkward silences, as you will have friends there to help you out!

Plan a study date

If you met your dream guy or girl in a shared class, perhaps you could schedule a study date. Not only is it free, it’s beneficial to your academic career! You could find a nice spot outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, or hit up a library together.

Volunteer together

Who could say no to cuddling with cute animals on a first date? Volunteering together is a great way to give back to the community and get to know one another. It also looks great on a resume. Almost Home Humane Society and Natalie’s Second Chance are great places to volunteer, but maybe puppies and kitties aren’t your thing. That’s okay! There are plenty of ways to get involved in your community and give back. You may want to contact the Lafayette Urban Ministry, as they are always looking for willing volunteers!

You don’t have to break the bank to win over your soul mate. Asking someone out is nerve-wracking enough without worrying about how you’re supposed to afford a five star meal. Being a college student will pay off eventually, but right now, we all understand the struggle. Do you have any foolproof frugal date ideas? Let us know below!

Healthy Eating on a College Budget

29 Sep

Heather Kessler, Purdue University Student & Peer Counselor

coffee mug filled with raspberries

Photo via unsplash.com

Is it really possible to eat healthy while on a small college budget? There are many guides on the internet offering advice on this topic. I’ve gone ahead and broken down a few of the most common suggestions.

1)      Always have low-budget healthy staples on hand.  This is just a small list of what can be helpful to have in the pantry or fridge at all times.

2)      Have a plan before you shop.

  • Check to see what is on sale that week at local grocery stores, and what coupons are available
  • Make a menu for the next week (or two)
  • See what you already have in stock in your kitchen
  • Make a list of the other items you need
  • Stick to that list while shopping for items
  • Try to stay around the perimeter of the grocery store as this is where the healthy produce tends to be.  The aisles usually contain items that have been processed and are not very healthy.
grocery store producs

Photo by: Francinegirvan

3)      If you struggle with buying more when you have a card, plan how much you are willing to spend ahead of time and get just that amount in cash.  This will help you keep to your pre-determined budget and be less likely to overspend.

4)      For fruits and vegetables try to stick with what is in season and on sale, as it will keep the prices down.  Frozen vegetables are also good to use and will keep longer (and can usually be found at lower prices than fresh vegetables).  Canned is okay, but they tend to use more preservatives in the canning process. .

5)      For lean protein on a budget, try to stay with white meats.  Chicken and turkey are both great options.  If you are willing to spend a little more money, salmon or tilapia offer wonderful health benefits.

6)      Whole grains offer the most nutrition for the dollar with items such as bread or pasta.  Try to avoid white bread and pasta since they are processed and most of their nutrients have been taken out.

Try not to waste any of the food you have, you invested good money into those items and they should be used.  If you need ideas on different entrees to make with the same ingredients Pinterest or The Food Network have many different ideas and they are easy to navigate through.  Here’s to healthy eating and more money in your bank account!

Saving Money While Having Fun on Campus

22 Sep

Leah Steppe, Purdue Student – Public Relations and Advertising, Peer Counselor

Purdue Bell Tower in fall

Looking for something to do on the weekend but running out of money? Try some of these fun activities available on Purdue’s campus to keep you entertained while saving money.

 

Purdue Student Union Board Events

The Purdue Student Union Board (PSUB) is a student run organization that provides students with different activities throughout the year. Most of the time the events they put on are free and involve getting free food! These events are a great way to meet new people, have fun, and save money. For a list of events take a look at their website as events change from semester to semester.

 

girl walking on Purdue campusExplore

This is always an interesting way to spend a few hours. You can either walk around campus and visit places you have never been or take a walk across the bridge and see what downtown Lafayette has to offer. Or get in your car and see where the road takes you. You never know what you might find while exploring. Have you ever been to Purdue’s Horticulture Park? Definitely worth the short drive (or walk if you live in McCutcheon or Harrison hall).

Having a hard time deciding where to go on your adventure? Every time you come to an intersection while walking or driving, take out a coin and flip it. If it lands on heads take a right and if it lands on tails go left. Let fate decide your adventure!

 

Flicks at Fowler

Every few weeks PSUB will show a movie in Fowler Hall located in the Stewart Center (or on Slayter Hill when the weather is nice). Students can get in for free when they show their Purdue ID and general admission is $4. Not only do you get to see movies for free but they are fairly recent movies. Visit the PSUB website for dates and movie titles.

 

Trivia Night

Another event PSUB puts on for students is a trivia night which takes place in the Union Commons or Pappy’s Sweet Shop. Your Purdue ID is usually required to participate. They even give away prizes to the top team!  So grab your friends and test your knowledge on 90s, sports, television, and more!

 

girls on rowing machinesCoRec

Looking for something a little more active? Try going to the CoREC. You get in free with your Purdue ID and they have everything from weights and treadmills to a pool and rock climbing wall. You can even join an intramural team if you are willing to pay a small fee. You then get to compete in your favorite sport with different teams.

 

These are just a few of the options for free things to do on Purdue’s campus. There’s always lots being offered so be sure to keep your eyes open and try something new!

Industrial Roundtable Part 2

15 Sep

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Industrial Roundtable Logo

Okay, so you’ve done all the prepping. You’ve done your homework and you know which companies you want to meet. The big day is finally here and here are some tips to make it a successful venture.

example of male and female business suit

Photo by: Lagacyweb-aid-edu

If I haven’t stressed it enough, dress professionally. The dress code is business professional. Yes it is very hot, yes those shoes are not the most comfortable and yes you have classes. But, it is just one day and wearing a suit is worth it if you can land an internship/job. You can do it, you amazing person! And if you’re desperate to get out of your business clothes, you can always bring clothes to change into afterwards, just please dress it up. If you don’t have dress clothes, Goodwill to the rescue! There are plenty of cheap options and thrift store gems to suit your needs.

Look at your schedule of companies you plan on seeing today, and I mean really look at it. Is it realistic? If you picked only top companies, you should note that the lines are way too long to speak with every company. So go to your top two, preferably when the lines are short, and go down your list from there. Be sure to visit multiple recruiters as well. There are lots of recruiters there and you could find something else that you end up loving.

Take each interview as a fresh start. So you didn’t do as well on the last one. That’s okay! Don’t let it psych you out. Each interview is an opportunity to impress and an opportunity to improve your skills for the next employer. The next employer will have no idea how you performed previously. It’s all about selling yourself and be sure to not sell yourself short.

Don’t get your hopes up. I know you love love love that company and it would be a dream to get the job. But there are other opportunities and maybe it’s just not the right time. Consider other offers and don’t limit yourself. It’s a big wide world out there and it’s good to consider other opportunities.

Make sure you get contact information from recruiters. You’ll want a place to send a follow-up letter and a contact to have for the future. It’s always a good idea

ways to contact

Photo by: adikhebat

to take a card, write down an email address or something.

Seriously consider all the options. If you do get multiple job offers that’s wonderful! But how are you going to choose which one? Here are some basic things to consider.

  • How is the pay?
  • Where are you going to be living while you’re working?
  • Have you consider cost of living vs. pay?
  • How long is this position and how will it affect your schooling?
  • Which companies are you most excited about?

There are a lot of things to consider, so don’t make a hasty decision. Be sure to review all of your offers before jumping into one blindly.

Finally remember to breath. Regardless of the outcome, it’s all about the experience. Just take it in stride. As long as you’re prepared and do your best, it’s going to be a good outcome.

Best of luck out there! I know you will do great, your a Boilermaker!

If you have any tips you would like to share please comment below.

Industrial Roundtable Part 1

8 Sep

Hannah Stewart Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

Industrial Roundtable Logo

Industrial Roundtable is coming soon to Purdue starting with seminars on September 15th, the Job Fair on the 16th and 17th, and ending with interviews September 18th through the 20th. This is a huge opportunity for students and employers come to campus looking to connect highly qualified students with internships, co-ops, and jobs. Industrial Roundtable is not just for graduating seniors; anyone can participate and benefit from the events held. And for those of us who aren’t engineers, I would recommend going anyway as sometimes there is an overlap, most companies have positions besides engineers. Every company needs HR, accounting, or management positions. It’s also a fabulous way to network. So, maybe they aren’t looking for your position now, but if you network, they could contact you when a position opens.

However, this isn’t your high school job fair, this is the real deal. As such, there is definitely some major prepping to do.

Stack of homework

Photo by: Loty

  1. Do your homework. Yes, these companies are coming to us. But these are major companies, some don’t even need to go looking for people, people flock to them. It’s a little bit of a treat and a huge compliment that they are coming to Purdue University. So return the favor. Look them up! See what they are doing, what their motto is, what breaking discoveries or products they have come out with, are they particularly proud of something, etc. Make sure you go into the Industrial Roundtable knowing the company and their representatives. Someone who is excited about what the company is doing will stand out over someone just looking for a job. The Industrial Roundtable website has a list of all the employers coming.
  2. Prep your résumé. Recruiters are not your best friends or family so they don’t know you that well. And they will be conversing with hundreds of other students, sometimes all within the same day. Now is the time to stand out and make a statement. Our campus has the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO), housed with trained employees, who are more than happy to help you with your résumé in order to stand out from the crowd. They can also help you with two other often forgotten aspects: a cover letter, and a follow up letter. It’s up to your discretion if you would need a cover letter, but you should always do a follow-up letter.
  3. Have letters of recommendation prepared because some employers will want them on the spot. Contact old employers, advisors, professors, anyone who can speak highly of you. The more professional the contact, the more it stands out. And double-check that they will write a good letter about you!
  4. Prepare your two minute speech. You have two minutes or less to make a lasting impression of yourself. And you need to sell yourself. Now is not the time to be humble, if you got it, own it and flaunt it. Make sure to check both the CCO website and the Industrial Roundtable website as often times, they list tips on whichquestionsyoushould beprepared to answer.

    business professional examples

    Photo by: Kristian Bjornard

  5. Dress to impress. This is the real deal and its business professional. Be prepared for suits and blazers. If at possible, don’t take your back pack as it can ruin the look and can make an awkward two-minute speech. Recruiters are looking for professionals, so make it easy to see you as one. Many employers won’t even consider someone who can’t look the part. Also, a good outfit is just one more way to stand out.
  6. Make a schedule. Industrial Roundtable tends to have loads of recruiters, representing tons of companies, and typically a pretty sizeable amount of the student population will also attend. It would be impossible to meet with every company and don’t forget you also have classes that you may not be able to/should not skip. So make a list of top ten companies that your experience and background will most likely align with. Be sure to not pick all huge companies or all really popular ones as these will be the busiest and you may only get to two. Be prepared to stand in lines as well.

The biggest thing you should take away from this is that you need to prep and get ready. This is a tremendous opportunity that you don’t want to miss. Even if you don’t feel like you would get a position, go anyways! Practice your communication skills, networking, and preparing your résumé. Just make sure you get ready for it because the companies will be ready for you.

Freshman Boot Camp Week 5: Going Greek

1 Sep

Hannah Stewart, Purdue University Student and Peer Counselor

girls entering sorority house

Purdue University has a massive Greek community (roughly 18% of the student population joins a fraternity or sorority). Greek life can be great! There are activities, parties, socials, philanthropies, and the brotherhood/sisterhood bonds, activities that create lifetime memories. Many students rush houses (i.e. they join houses after going through the ‘rush’ process) but, there are costs to keep in mind. When rushing this fall do not just consider how big the house is, or how cool the members are, but also keep in mind the finances.

The Division of Financial Aid creates a Cost of Attendance each year for students. Sometimes it is easier to think of this as a system of budgets. Housing is one of the budgets listed. All students receive a budget for housing whether they are living on campus or off campus. Your financial aid will be processed by the university and sent to the university billing office (the Bursar office here at Purdue) based off the Cost of Attendance. Once at the billing office your financial aid will pay towards your university bill, tuition and fees first and housing next if you live on campus.

club fair

Photo by: Purdue Marketing and Media

If you do not have a housing bill with the university and have financial aid remaining after tuition and fees are paid you or your (depending on what type of financial aid you have) parents will receive a refund check for the remaining funds. It is then up to the student to use that refund to pay all of their expenses to their fraternity or sorority. Note that since students are billed on a semester basis, refunds are sent on a semester basis. If you are using the Cost of Attendance as a budget, you will want to split it in half for the yearly amounts.

There are certain questions you need to consider when it comes to going Greek:

Housing:

Does the Greek organization you’re looking at have a house? Are you required to live there? How do they bill you? If they have a house and you are required to live there, what are the costs? Is the rent monthly, on a semester basis, or all at once in the fall? Is the house willing to work with you on when the payment is due? It’s important to keep these things in mind as financial aid will always be sent once each semester in a lump sum.

students filling up fountain pops

Photo by: Purdue Marketing & Media

Food:

Does the house provide food? Do they cater 3 meals a day 7 days a week? Do they have a cook? Is this in the housing fee or is it separate? Although some houses have cooks and provide food, others do not. Some houses have the student provide their groceries. If the student does need to get groceries, how are they going to get them? Do you have a car to drive to and from the supermarket? Do you plan on taking the bus?

Membership:

Does the organization have a membership fee or dues? Some Greek organizations have membership fees, on top of the housing. Often times there are fees such as a national fee, and a chapter fee. Are these billed monthly, a lump sum or on a semester basis? Do you only pay this once when you enter the house, or every year?

Social Fees:

So they won’t be called social fees, but you know what I’m talking about. Buying t-shirts as a group? Who’s paying for the weekend social activities? What about the balloons, confetti, and other party supplies? Every time your house has a function, social, or party there are costs. And every time you hang out with your brothers/sisters there’s probably some purchases involved (pizza, clothes at the mall, Den pops). Who’s footing those bills?

Miscellaneous:

Is there a fee for going through the rush process? What about a last minute road trip to the fraternity/sorority at your neighboring college? Are you prepared for your home town friends to visit? There are many unexpected expenses one can face in or out of a Greek organization. This is one reason why an emergency fund is key for any financial plan.

students dancing in costumes

Photo by: Purdue Marketing & Media

Non-monetary Fees: Not all fees cost money. What about your time? You are here first and foremost to be a student. It takes time to study and prepare. Do you have time to keep up your Greek social life and maintain a high GPA? Some houses even require you to maintain a specific GPA in order to stay a member.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. There could be more expenses, there could be less, and it’s just a something to keep in mind when deciding to join a house. Joining a house can be a great experience, and you can meet lots of people, see new sites, and make memories that will last a lifetime! Just do what works best for you, and consider all angles when deciding.

 

Congratulations, you have just completed the MyMoney Freshman Boot Camp.  You are now ready to have an excellent freshman year!

Are there topics we have not covered that you would like discussed?  Please share you ideas below.

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