Archive | June, 2017

 Student Loans: Responsible Borrowing

29 Jun

Melissa Leiden Welsh, Ph.D., CFCS, CPFFE | University of Maryland

responsible borrowing.jpg
If you are planning to attend college, a trade school, or some type of post-secondary training after high school, you will also likely apply to obtain student loans. The challenge is to select loans that match your financial needs, not only when you are a student but also when you are earning an income following graduation.

Student loan debt has generally been considered “good debt” due to a borrower’s increased earning ability upon graduation. However, the amount of outstanding debt should be proportional to a student’s projected earning ability. Check out the following suggestions to keep from falling into student debt traps.

1. Evaluating Post-Secondary School Options

There are many things to consider as you look at educational opportunities and the decision should not be taken lightly.

Do

  • Look at different types of post-secondary school and make sure you fully understand the costs (i.e., tuition and fees, room and board) associated with each one. It’s okay to “shop around” for schools.
  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FASFA is the gateway to federal student loans.
  • Examine and evaluate federal loan options. Federal loans will almost always offer lower interest rates than private loans, and you may be eligible for loan forgiveness programs, or more flexible repayment options.
  • Shop around for private loans if you don’t qualify for enough federal student loans. Even a slightly higher interest rate of 0.5% to 1% more can add up over extended repayment periods.
  • Examine potential career earnings upon graduation specific to your field of study. Some fields of study do not pay as much upon graduation as other fields. You may struggle to pay loans from an expensive post-secondary institution with a low paying career.
  • Get a copy of your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com to check for unauthorized action with your personal information. You may not even have a credit report at this time, but checking it will ensure you have not been a victim of identity theft.

Don’t

  • Overlook public in-state colleges and training facilities as they often charge lower tuition with degrees matching your career goal and financial budget.
  • Select colleges or post-secondary training sites due to a friend’s enrollment. While it is difficult to change social settings in life, it is far worse to study for a degree/certificate in a field you are not truly interested in studying.

 

2. Before Signing Loan Documents

Student loans are ultimately your responsibility to repay, so make sure you are paying attention when borrowing.

Do

  • Limit borrowing to the amount you need to cover tuition, books, and educational supplies.
  • Keep a running total of loans accruing from year to year. Only looking at semester or yearly totals may leave you surprised and overwhelmed with the final summary loan total at graduation. You can use the National Student Loan Database System (NSLDS) to check your Federal loan balances.
  • Keep a folder of all student loan related forms and information brochures, preferably both physical and digital. It is not only convenient to be able to find everything in a single folder, but also can be helpful when planning and evaluating repayment options.
  • Some loans require actions to keep loans in deferment/forbearance (no payments required) while remaining as an enrolled student.
  • Keep your contact information current with each lender. It is your responsibility to report a change in your address to the lender. A lack of current address is NOT an excuse for missing a loan payment.
  • Understand the terms of the agreement in regards to how loan amortization works, how interest will be charged, and if interest will be added to the principal of the loan, commonly referred to as capitalization. Some private loans capitalize more frequently than federal loans.

Don’t

  • Turn to the signature page and sign without reading all the text of the contract you are signing.
  • Use extra funds from the refund check for pizza nights, spring break, drinks with friends or shopping trips. These expenses will cost you more because of interest.

 

3. Searching for Jobs and Preparing to Graduate

It is important to consider your student loans as you near graduation and begin looking for your first post-secondary school job.

Do

  • Work hard to graduate on time. Extra years at school mean additional student loan costs and lost years of earning. 
  • Make a spending and saving budget to follow after graduation. Determine potential costs to help guide your financial decisions such as housing. It is important to look at the interest rate of each loan and work to pay off higher interest rate loans first versus small loans with low interest rates to potentially save thousands of dollars in interest costs.
  • Visit the Student Loan Estimator to determine your estimated loan repayment totals.
  • Examine and evaluate various repayment plans. Schedule an appointment with your university loan department to determine available options.
  • Read all correspondence from loan providers thoroughly before deciding to consolidate loans – some loans are ineligible for loan forgiveness programs once consolidated with non-eligible loans and loan consolidation does not necessarily lower interest rates.
  • Be cautious when deciding to pay for loan consolidation as many federal programs and some private banks offer free loan consolidation. You may receive solicitations via the mail that offer to do it for a free, but it is always free to do yourself for federal loans.
  • Explore tax credits for student loan interest payments.
  • Choose to sign up for automatic draft payments from your bank account. Automatic payments reduce the possibility of late payments and are often rewarded with lower interest rates too.

Don’t

  • Consider not paying your loans on time. Default on student loans can greatly impact your credit report. Lenders and other businesses use the information in your credit report to evaluate your applications for credit, loans, insurance, employment or renting a home.
  • Extend loans to a longer repayment time to simply have a lower monthly payment. Those extra months and years will quickly add additional interest costs beyond the principle.

 

Resources

U.S. Department of Education Blog

Student Loan Hero

Edvisors Network

Making the Most of Your 21st Century Scholarship

27 Jun

Sarah Kercher, 21st Century Scholars Support Specialist

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As the 21st Century Scholars Support Specialist at Purdue, I often get asked about scholarship requirements, and resources available to 21st Century Scholars. After serving a year in this role, I’ve come up with four recommendations for 21st Century Scholars to maintain and make the most of their scholarship:

Know the Requirements

In order to make the most of your scholarship, you have to keep it! There are a few basic requirements that all scholars have to meet to renew their scholarship each year:

  1. Credit Completion

Starting Fall 2017, you need to earn 30 credits per year to renew your scholarship for the following year. If you started school in the fall, you have until the end of that summer to meet credit completion for the year.

  1. Full-Time Status

You must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester to be considered full time.

Pro tip: Take at least 15 a semester to help you meet credit completion. This will keep you on track with your plan of study and gives you a buffer in case you need to drop a class for any reason.

  1. File Your FAFSA On Time

To receive 21st Century funding, you must file the FAFSA by April 15th. The FAFSA is available from October until April, so don’t wait until the last minute and risk losing out on a year of financial aid. Make sure you’re aware of Purdue specific deadlines to maximize the aid you’re eligible for, and file early!

Helpful Hint: You don’t have to go it alone! There are lots of opportunities to get help with your FAFSA- You can attend a local College Goal Sunday or get help from Junia McDole, our Financial Aid Administrator (see below)

Know Your Resources

Making the most of your scholarship is about more than meeting the requirements. It’s also important to take advantage of the resources available to you so that you can stay on track for four-year graduation, minimizing debt, and increasing your earning potential post-college.

  • Your 21st Century Scholars Support Specialist

My goal is to help you succeed! I’m available to answer scholarship questions and refer you to resources based on your situation, and I also offer individualized coaching to help you work through any barriers to your success. Throughout the year I provide workshops related to career exploration, academic success, and financial literacy and send monthly reminders about scholarship requirements, deadlines, and opportunities to get involved on campus. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’ve lost your scholarship, I’m here to help you navigate the appeal process.  My office is on the fourth floor of Krach, and you can schedule an appointment with me here.

  • 21st Century Scholars Financial Aid Administrator, Junia McDole

Junia can assist with the FAFSA, scholarships and grants, loan counseling, debt counseling, budgeting, work study, and other financial aid issues. She is located on the fourth floor of Krach as well, so you can visit us both in one trip! Contact Junia here.

  • Federal Work Study

If you’re looking to make some extra money to put toward your educational costs, look no further! 21st Century Scholars are eligible for the Federal Work Study program, which helps you secure a part-time job on campus where you can gain skills and experience for a future career while also earning money for your education. Click here to learn more about Work Study and use both the Student Life jobs website and the Financial Aid Office’s job posting site to search for opportunities at Purdue (make sure to click “work-study required” in the search criteria).

Note: You must check the box that indicates interest in Work Study on the FAFSA to be eligible for funding for that academic year.

Get Connected

Get to know your Support Specialist and other professionals on campus like professors and advisors. Being proactive about getting to know these people off the bat makes it easier to know where to go and feel comfortable asking them for help when you need to. Having an established relationship with campus professionals can be especially helpful if you need someone to advocate for you in the event that you have to appeal for your scholarship down the road.

Stay on Top of Purdue Email

This one may seem like common sense, but we all know how easy it is to let email pile up! Your Purdue email account is the primary way the University will communicate with you about your financial aid and 21st Century Scholarship, so it’s important to check it regularly and take action as necessary.  You’ll also get regular emails from your 21st Century Scholars Support Specialist reminding you of important dates for your scholarship and opportunities around campus that you don’t want to miss!

Insider Advice: It can be tough to switch from the email you used in high school to your Purdue account, but don’t take the risk of forwarding your Purdue email to another account. Too often messages get lost this way, and missing important emails can have serious financial and academic repercussions. Make it a habit early to check your Purdue account directly and often –soon it will become second nature!

Still have questions, or just want to get connected? We would love to meet you!  Call Student Success Programs at (765) 494-9328 to be connected to a Purdue 21st Century representative or visit our website.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter !

 

Looking for Cheap or Free Stuff for Your Apartment?

21 Jun

With August closing in and the new year of leases starting soon, it’s time to start prepping for your new place. Whether it’s in Purdue housing or an off-campus apartment, you most likely need to buy a few things. It’s easy to create a huge dent in your summer savings if you buy everything at full retail price. So buy used!

I’ve always been able to easily find furniture under $50 a piece every year I’ve been at Purdue. I’ve even gotten some stuff for free. Where, you ask?

1. Thrift Stores    

Pros: It’s a one-stop-shop for small items like cooking utensils, dining ware, and picture frames at a reasonable price.

clothes rack

Cons:  If you’re looking for something very specific, they can be hit or miss. Furniture and other large items are in slim choice at Goodwill.

Where:

West Lafayette Goodwill
907 Sagamore Parkway West
West Lafayette, IN 47904
(First Saturday of every month is ½ price everything in the store)

Habitat for Humanity
3815 Fortune Dr.
Lafayette, IN 47905

Trinity Thrift Store
1224 Union Street
Lafayette, IN 47904

Amused Clothing
316 1/2 W State St
West Lafayette, IN 47906


2. 
Garage Sales 

community yard sale

Pros: Extremely cheap prices. I’ve found many household items for less than $5 at garage sales. Furniture can be harder to find, but when you do, it’s very cheap. In addition, you can haggle with the owner for a lower price. I rarely have someone turn down a lower offer.

Cons: Again, if you are looking for a very specific item, you might have trouble finding it. You also might have to drive all around town hitting up different sales to get everything you need, and we all know gas isn’t cheap.

Where: Check out Tippecanoe CraigslistYard Sale Search, or pick up a Journal and Courier on Friday or Saturday morning for the classifieds.

3. One Man’s Trash is Your Treasure

There’s a special kind of Senior Week here at Purdue. As graduating students move to full-time jobs in distant cities, there are countless free scores waiting by every dumpster, trash can, and curb side in West Lafayette.

Pros: Well for one, it’s free. But don’t worry; you won’t have to jump inside a dumpster. Many considerate movers will leave their perfectly usable unwanted furniture and appliances in a clean spot beside the dumpster.

Cons: Hey, if you’re willing to jump into a dumpster to dig deeper, I’m not stopping you. You just might get a little messy.

Where: Take a stroll or car ride around the student neighborhoods and see what you can find. Large apartment complexes will be overflowing with treasures.

4. Craigslist

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Pros:  You can shop in your pajamas at home and the seller might even deliver the goods to you. Performing a quick search through the listings is the fastest and easiest way to find a very particular item for cheap. Remember to haggle down the price!

Cons: Setting up a time and place to meet someone for your purchase can be a bit of a pain, especially if they cancel at the last second. “Oh yeah, I forgot had dinner with the in-laws tonight. Can we do tomorrow?”

Where: The Lafayette/West Lafayette Tippecanoe Craigslist.

5. Purdue Surplus

Ever wonder where all those abandoned bikes from campus go? They get shipped off to the Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store in Lafayette! They specialize in old furniture from Purdue buildings, bikes, computers and monitors, and student lost-and-found stuff.

Pros: The prices are extremely cheap. I’ve gotten an exercise bike for $10 and a coffee table for $5 from the warehouse in the past.

Cons: The Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store has odd operating hours – Mon-Fri  12PM-4PM. So if you’re only free on weekends, this option is out.  You also might be purchasing something you once owned.

Where:
Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store
700 Ahlers Dr
West Lafayette, IN 47907

Setting Up Your Schedule for Next Semester

20 Jun

Welcome Class of 2021!

STAR is a huge step in getting your college career started off. You meet your advisor, and enjoy a few informational sessions, but most importantly you’ll sign up for your first semester of Purdue classes! 1st semester clocktower 22.jpg

Your semester can take shape a lot of different ways depending on how you set your classes up. Things like course difficulty, the times, and how the courses are presented (online, in-person) can all make a huge difference in how your semester goes. So here’s a few things to think about as you’re setting up your first semester of classes:

Coming to college, I never knew that you’re usually only in class for about three or so hours per day depending on your credit load. Even if you spend another three hours a day doing homework or studying like your professors wish, you still probably have more free time than you did in high school. Joining clubs and orgs might eat up your free time quicker than you realize, but you have more choices in how you spend your time than at pretty much any other point in your life.

You may have had classes starting at 7:30 in high school, but if you’re not a morning person definitely look into having your earliest class start a little later in the day. Without having any family members to badger you into waking up, it becomes way too easy to figure you can just catch the lecture online or get the notes from a friend.

If you’re living off campus, you’ll want to try to schedule your classes closely together. On days when the weather doesn’t cooperate (and even days when it does), having to choose between killing two hours on campus versus walking a mile back to your place isn’t a choice you’ll want to make.

Be sure to find time for lunch! Those afternoon classes become a grind if your stomach is rumbling the whole time. Plus, plenty of labs don’t allow food or drink so bringing your own snacks won’t solve the problem. Whether you leave a hole in your schedule or just plan ahead and pack your backpack with some lunch food that you can eat on the go (and doesn’t mind being squished), just having a lunch plan in your routine helps.

Online classes are sometimes thought of as an easy way to get some classes in without having the same time commitment. Unfortunately, if you’re thinking that way you’ll probably get a surprise you don’t like. Online classes often have a lot of busy work and online discussion so the professor knows you’re engaged with the class and comprehending. While they are much more flexible time-wise, they usually take up more free time than an in-person course.

Finally, what to do the rest of the day when you’re not in class? Even if you’re sleeping a mythical 12 hours a night, with three hours of class a day you’ll still have 9 hours remaining that you have your own choice how to spend.

Some students fall into the trap of getting really into Netflix and not a whole lot else. Even the best shows get boring after some time and even for an introvert, just hanging by yourself all the time can become a pretty isolating experience.

This is where clubs and student orgs can fit in. Whether it’s playing a sports club and getting that team bond that you enjoyed from high school sports, joining a professional organization that’s related to your major, something that aligns with your beliefs, or Greek life, there’s tons of great choices. They all want you to join and once you do, you’ll never remember why you had any skepticism about it!

Thrift Shopping for College Students

16 Jun

Thrift shopping: good for needs and wants text. Laid over picture of two mannequins wearing shirts that say sale

Everyone wants to look good. Whether it’s for a professional interview or a hot date, everyone needs to put on a little more than a t-shirt and jeans at times. However, if you’re used to hitting the mall and buying designer outfits, it can be hard to adjust to having very little set aside for such expenses.

So how does one dress to impress on a college budget?

There’s an art to finding the best deals for the best look, and here I will give you the keys to a good college wardrobe.

First thing’s first: find a thrift shop. Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis isn’t all that off the mark. Lots of quality clothing can be found at your local Goodwill, Trinity Mission, and The Salvation Army stores, not to mention Amused Clothing near the Purdue campus.

 

These are all good places to begin the search for professional (and entertaining) clothing for a great price. These stores can all be found in Lafayette and are only a short drive (or bus ride) away from campus. If you don’t have a car find some friends who do. It can be tons of fun to go as a group and see great deals or fun outfits you can pick.

Next, keep an open mind. When you go to thrift stores you never know what you’re going to find, which means you never know what you’re NOT going to find. It’s not a department store; you can’t go in with a set item in mind.

If you walk into a thrift shop with an open mind you will find items that you would never have looked at before that can enhance your outfit for only a few dollars. People donate all sorts of clothes that are in nearly perfect condition, but you never know what you will find until you go.

From here you simply have to keep going. Odds are you will not find everything you need all in one shopping spree. You must be diligent and give it time. Often it can take many trips to find the perfect ensemble. Just remember to have fun with it and you will be dressed without too much financial stress in no time.

Looking for a Part-Time Job During the School Year?

13 Jun

broadcast-purdue

Are you worried you won’t have enough money to have fun while you’re on campus this fall? If your parents have finally gotten sick of you asking them for money, you might consider getting a part-time job on campus. I know, I know, being a student is a full-time job, but how else are you supposed to keep up with the random expenses that pop up, let alone some money for fun? Especially without racking up more debt than you may already have from student loans?

Earning a little extra cash during the school year not only helps you financially, but as reported by Student Employment Services at Purdue University, working 8-12 hours per week may actually help in academic performance and student retention. Probably because working students learn better time management skills.

Now that you’ve decided (or have been bullied into by your parents) to get a part-time job during the school year, START EARLY! Employers often start lining up their new hires for the fall around late June, so the time to apply is approaching quickly. This will give you an edge on everyone else searching for part-time jobs near campus. If you want to work on-campus you have a variety of options, or if you’re willing to go off-campus, you will have even more options! To start your search for on-campus employment I would recommend you start here:

Start here for specific student employment options. Purdue University’s Student Employment website is a comprehensive job posting website with on and off campus opportunities. This site is especially helpful if you need to search specifically for a work-study position.

Are you looking for other employment opportunities on campus? Check out the different employment websites listed below.

Other options for employment near campus include the bookstores (either Follett’s or University Bookstore.) Also, there are plenty of restaurants and stores around campus that hire students. Just walking down the Chauncey Hill or the Levee opens more options for employment. There are plenty of restaurants there and a few shops that prefer to hire students. Make sure you get there early though; they often have to wait and see if their regular employees will be returning in the fall, so it’s good to get your name and face in their brains.

Remember, you can use the city bus service for free as a Purdue student! Even if a job isn’t within walking distance, it may be on a convenient bus route.

Can’t find anything there? If you are looking through alternative resources to search for jobs online be careful! Some online job postings sites may not screen their job postings and it could lead to a scam. You can research the company’s track record and see if any complaints have been made through BBB.

A safer option would be visiting a particular company’s website to see if they are hiring or you could even call or stop by and ask for an application. Both West Lafayette and Lafayette have companies that hire part-time workers, and most of them are often hiring.

If your job search isn’t going as well as you would like, don’t give up! Maybe you could work at Starbucks instead of that little coffee shop on Chauncey. If you have a close friend who works somewhere, ask if they can get you an “in” and have them tell their boss how great you are.

Good luck in your search! Feel free to post any openings you know of in the comments.

Scholarship Tips for College of Agriculture Students

7 Jun

Sherre Meyer, Assistant Director Office of Academic Program, College of Agriculture
Career Development and Scholarship Coordinator

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Indiana and National Scholarships are still available to College of Agriculture students for the 2017-18 academic year!

More information on the scholarships can be found at the College of Agriculture’s scholarship page. While scrolling down the webpage, look on the left side of the screen for “Indiana Agriculture Scholarships” and also for “National Agriculture Scholarships“. It takes a little more time to apply as each has their own scholarship application. Every year, many of these scholarships go unawarded, as students do not take the time to apply. Be sure to be mindful of the application deadlines. My advice is to read through each scholarship listed, and for those a student meets the criteria for – apply, apply, and apply!

The application for College of Agriculture Scholarships for 2018-19 will open in November, 2017. Go to the webpage listed above for the application. A common question is “Do I complete an application for each scholarship?” The answer is no, you only need to complete the one application.

One online application puts the College of Agriculture students into a pool for each scholarship for which they meet the criteria. Applications must be completed in their entirety to be considered. Partial and incomplete applications are deleted, so be sure to finish if you start!

Any questions or concerns about the College of Agriculture Scholarships can be directed to me at meyer10@purdue.edu, or call me at 765-494-8482.

 

Who Owns Your Student Loans?

6 Jun

Carrie L. Johnson, Ph.D. | North Dakota State University

When leaving college, whether you are graduating or taking some time off, it is important to know how much you owe in student loans and who you will be paying back. You may have kept track over the years, or maybe you didn’t. There are two types of student loans: federal and private. This fact sheet will show you how to determine the amount of student loans you owe and who you need to pay.

Federal Student Loans

The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) website is the best place to start when looking for history on your federal student loans (Direct Loans and Perkins Loans). To access your student loan information, you need your FSA ID to log in.

nslds1-2.jpg

The main page is broken down into four sections:

  1. Summary information for borrower; this includes your enrollment status and the date that status became effective.

  2. The next section will have any “warnings” that may be on your account such as nearing your aggregate borrowing limit or if you are in default on your loans.

  3. The Loans section lists every federal loan you have ever had and totals for your federal loans.

  4. Section 4 shows your Pell Grants.

To identify your loan holders and repayment amounts, focus on the third section shown below.
nslds4

By clicking on the blue button with the number in the first column you can see even more details about your loan. You will be shown the type of loan, what school you were attending when the loan was obtained, various important dates, amounts, disbursements and statuses, and your servicer information. The servicer is who you contact about repayment.

There are currently ten servicers the Department of Education uses for Direct Loans; you can find a list here. The servicer on a Perkins Loan is typically the school that extended the loan. However, some schools do have outside servicers or assign your loan to Department of Education. The example below shows what the servicer section on NSLDS looks like.

nslds3

Private Student Loans

The best way to determine information about the status of private student loans is to obtain a copy of your credit report. The credit report will include will total amount owed and the name of your lender. A free copy of your credit report can be requested by mail, telephone, or online every 12 months from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).

By going to AnnualCreditReport.com you can get access to information about your credit history, including student loan payments. You will need your personal information to log on and you will also be asked a series of security questions based on your report. You can also request your credit report by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by mail using this form.

Resources

AnnualCreditReport.com 

National Student Loan Database System

Saving for College

 

Is Having a Car in College Worth It?

1 Jun

car in college.jpg

Having a car in college can lead to some really fun times. Cross country road trips in the summer, getaway weekends and nights out on the town are all easier for students who bring a car to campus. However, maintaining a car as a student probably costs more than you think. So, when is it worth it?

The Privilege of Car Ownership

There are many advantages to owning a vehicle as a college student. First and foremost is the flexibility and freedom a car affords. You’ll no longer be dependent on other drivers when you’re making plans – simply by having a car you have more say in what it you can do and what you want to do.  And, of course, your commute to campus is likely to be a bit shorter; so hitting the snooze button a few times won’t ruin your morning.

Owning a car in college can help you make and save money, too. Since you can commute a little further, you’ll be able to consider a wider selection of off-campus jobs. And with all that carrying capacity, you can tackle a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single day. If your kitchen is stocked, you’ll cook more and eat out less (and all without hauling groceries on foot or by bus).

Car ownership in college also has benefits beyond daily usage. When you really want to get out of town, having a car will make it happen. This is especially true given how difficult it can be for college students to rent cars at affordable rates.

Important Auto Considerations

gas prices are expensive

Despite all the benefits, however, there are some important financial factors you should consider before you decide to own a car while in college.

Gas is expensive, and it’s going to stay that way. The average car in the U.S. consumes around $1,000 worth of gas each year. If you drive your car regularly, you can probably expect to fill your tank once a week. Before you commit to bringing a car to college you need to determine how much it costs on average to fill the tank and how often you expect you’ll fill it up. If possible, you’ll of course want to bring a car with good gas mileage.

Car insurance is another major cost you’ll need to factor into your budget if you drive during college. Premiums are higher for anyone under the age of 25, whether or not they are enrolled in college. The good news is that, on average, Indiana auto insurance premiums are among the lowest in the country.

You’ll also want to consider the cost of campus parking before bringing your car to school. Here are the Purdue rates for parking permits. You should also make certain you are eligible; this is determined by the distance between your home and the campus.

Finally, when deciding whether or not it’s worthwhile to bring a car to college, you have to budget for damages and repairs. The average car needs just over $400 a year in repairs, not including oil changes. You can save some money changing your own oil and rotating your own tires, assuming you know how to do so safely.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

So what are the alternatives to keeping a car at college? There are a number of great ways to get around in West Lafayette:

  • Public transportation: The bus system in West Lafayette is very interconnected with Purdue and free for students to use. The university is central to the area, meaning the bus system can get you to the campus Lafayette CitBusfrom almost anywhere.
  • Bicycles, skateboards and so on: Bicycling is a great alternative in West Lafayette, and many people make it their main mode of transportation. Skateboarding, rollerblading and walking are also options, especially if you live on or close to campus.
  • Zipcar: The local branch of this car sharing service is available to anyone over 18 and caters to Purdue students, faculty and staff.

The Bottom Line

Because car ownership is such a complex financial commitment, you’ll need to do extensive research before you know whether or not it’s a sensible investment. In a nine-month academic year, AAA reports that the average small car costs more than $3,000, including gas, insurance and maintenance; this doesn’t factor in parking costs and non-standard repairs. As a college student, you can’t afford to gloss over such a pricey and important decision.

Karla Lant is a life insurance writer for The Simple Dollar. She helps everyday people understand and master life insurance issues and questions. Lant has dealt with related regulatory issues in her work as an attorney and has researched and published on life insurance and estate planning. She has also taught subjects related to life insurance as an adjunct professor. Here is her Facebook page

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