Students who write for the College Connect blog describe their own experiences handling and managing money and credit. Blog topics include family financial crises, working while going to school, financial aid, managing debt and more.

The blog writers attend Arizona State University, the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

This personal finance blog project is funded by Denver-based National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).


Fall 2020

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia

Embracing Money Therapy
By Aleeza Rasheed
To be a college student is to be stuck in a liminal space between adulthood and childhood. In this space, there’s a lot of learning and transformation. Read more…

The Graduate School Game Plan
By Alexis Brock
According to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Americans owe more than $1.6 trillion in student loans. Additional data from Pew Research indicates that the amount owed varies substantially by level of education. In 2016, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that the average cumulative student loan balance for law students was over $145,000. Read more…

Navigating College Expenses as an Out-of-State Student
By Allison Caso
When people hear the word “college,” words such as “fun,” “freedom” and “adventure,” all come to mind. For many students, the words “expense,” “finances” and “loans” also come to mind. Whether a student’s parents are supporting them or they are bearing the costs themselves, the topic of money unquestionably arises. Read more…

Deciding on the Next Chapter: The Cost of Graduate School
By Caroline Kurzawa
My undergraduate chapter is coming to an end after four years, and I am seriously considering graduate school. More specifically, I’m wondering if I can afford it. In exchange for two more years of my life, countless hours of studying and an advanced degree, do I want to commit financially to a master’s program? Is graduate school the next chapter of my story? Read more…

Supporting Local Business
By Caroline Odom
Over the summer, my favorite independent bookstore, E. Shaver Booksellers, reopened for in-person sales after transitioning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As I entered the store and browsed, I knew I could find the books at a lower cost on Amazon or from a large book retailer. But with this purchase, I supported a local business that faced uncertainty. Read more…

Comparing Costs: My Home-Cooking vs. Fast Food
By Emily Garcia
This year I moved out of my parent’s house. For the first time in my life, I am financially independent from my family and as part of my financial independence I decide how I feed myself roughly three times a day. Read more…

Learning to Live Within a Budget
By Jamie Miller
If most college students can relate to anything, it is the feeling of being broke. Financial constraint takes many forms; for me it is both figuratively and literally the struggle to decide if I should buy the lilies at the grocery store or save the extra $7 for next week’s budget. Read more…

Expanding My Role in the Black Economy
By Jayla Johnson
As I have gotten older, I have learned that where you put your money matters. Quick fixes to things can do more damage than good. When I was hungry, I just went to the closest grocery store or fast-food restaurant. I didn’t do research on who my money would go to or what system I was supporting. Read more…

Why I Accepted Unpaid Positions During Undergrad but Won’t in the Future
By Jessica Green
Throughout my undergraduate years at the University of Georgia, I have served in a variety of roles. Some that felt random, like my job fixing printers around campus, and some that just paid the bills, like my job at the donor call center. But the jobs that held the most worth for me in terms of advancing my career were the unpaid internships. Read more…

Learning What I Didn’t Know About Money
By Katherine Lewis
I did not know how little I understood about finances until my college best friend and I searched for an apartment for the first time. We visited apartment complexes and marveled at the beautiful amenities we would have access to if we simply signed a bonding lease of “only” $1,000 per month. Read more…

How I Paid Back Half of My Students Loans While Still in School
By Savannah Sicurella
I mentally prepared myself to take out student loans long before I began applying to college. I distinctly remember spending hours studying university financial assistance webpages and scouring student loan debt forums to make sense of collegiate financial aid on my own — and that doesn’t account for the time I spent losing myself in the deep abyss of scholarship aggregator websites that wouldn’t stop sending me emails. Read more…

Pledging to Figure Out an Uncertain Post-Graduation Path
By Tyler Wilkins
As soon as I watched fireworks flash across my computer screen on the University of Georgia’s website, I felt ecstatic. I didn’t expect to gain acceptance to UGA, as my SAT scores and high school GPA were nothing but average. In that moment, I knew that’s where I wanted to attend college. I needed to tell someone. Read more…

Students Can Find Opportunity through Entrepreneurship
By Aleeza Rasheed
While the age of the average entrepreneur is around 40 years old, people are embarking on their journey to business ownership at younger and younger ages. This year, National Entrepreneurs Day is on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Read more…

Navigating the Subscription Economy
By Alexis Brock
“I remember when I was a little kid, just about every month I got a Sports Illustrated Kids magazine,” Jaleel Laguins said. “I’d bug my mom about it every time she checked the mailbox.”Lots has changed in Laguins’ life since the early 2000s, but his fascination with receiving a monthly subscription ‘gift’ that adds entertainment value to his everyday life is not one of them. Read more…

What to Know Before Signing an Apartment Lease
By Allison Caso
Moving into an apartment for the first time can be scary for college students. For many, it is the first time that people are without the comforts of either their family members or resident assistants from living in a dorm. Read more…

The Best Options for Repaying Student Loans After You Graduate
By Caroline Kurzawa
Today, the average student takes out approximately $30,000 in loans to pay for a college education. From 2009 to 2019, there has been roughly a 26% increase in the amount that students have borrowed. Read more…

What Students Should Know About Renters Insurance
By Caroline Odom
Before tenants can move into a property leased by CollegeTown Properties, a real estate firm in Athens, Georgia, they must purchase a renters insurance policy. “About a month before move-in day, we start reaching out to all of our tenants to make sure they have proof of it,” said Katherine Rittenhouse, CollegeTown’s marketing and leasing manager. Read more…

Navigating an Unexpected Financial Emergency
By Emily Garcia
At some point in life, everyone will face what constitutes a financial emergency, such as an unexpected tax bill, loss of income or fender bender. A survey of 8,000 U.S. workers, done by Willis Towers Watson in February 2020 found that 38% of employees were living paycheck to paycheck, and 39% could not come up with $3,000 in the event of an emergency. Read more…

The Influence of Gen Z on Finances and the Consumer Market
By Jamie Miller
The digital age has transformed the consumer market by giving people the ability to browse and purchase items online at the click of a button. Companies are adapting to the new trends of online consumers by targeting those who are most fluent and active in the online world – the digital natives of Generation Z. Read more…

Managing Your Money from Your Phone
By Jayla Johnson
In the age of e-finance and the ease of transferring money online, the issue of money management has become more important for students. In recent years, many of them have turned to apps to manage their spending. Read more…

Students, Start Building Your Credit History the Right Way Now
By Jessica Green
Lucy Howard built her credit history for over a year without a single error. In the summer of 2019, Howard got her first credit card after realizing the importance of establishing good money-managing habits. Read more…

Healthcare Literacy is Low Among College Students
By Katherine Lewis
Unlike many life lessons that are learned when first entering college, health insurance is one that many students struggle to wrap their heads around. Many new college students have never had to handle their own insurance and likely won’t until they are 26, when they’re required to roll off of their parents’ insurance. Read more…

First-Time Tax Filing for Students: What you need to know before tax season
By Savannah Sicurella
When University of Georgia student Madeline Bradley filed income taxes for the first time in January, she was flustered. Her confusion felt ironic, she said — even though she was in her final year of her accounting major, the tax forms and filing systems she navigated looked like they were coded in another language. Read more…

Persevering Through the Scholarship Application Process
By Tyler Wilkins
During his senior year of high school, Matthew Brantley didn’t know where to start in his scholarship application process. With few resources readily available from his school, Brantley took it upon himself to conduct individual research, combing through scholarship after scholarship in the hopes he’d receive a few of them, he said. Read more…


The Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia

Is an Unpaid Internship Worthwhile for International Students?
By Larissa Gao
During the pandemic, when many internship programs have been canceled, I couldn’t find paid internships, just like many other students. However, unlike American students, I have to pay for my unpaid internship experiences. Read more…

How to Save Money on Makeup
By Frida Qi
Like many people, I love makeup. Particularly, I was a fan of doing eyeshadow, which could be a huge problem since I couldn’t help collecting the various colors of eyeshadow. But since I spent more and more money on makeup, I started being cautious on how I spent the money. Now, here are my tips on how to save money on makeup. Read more…

My Brutal Lesson in Cost of Living
By Jack Lee
In April 2019, I got a call that changed the course of my summer. On the other end of the phone, someone said I had been accepted into an internship program in a prestigious newsroom in Washington D.C. Read more…

Investing in Yourself is the Real Key
By Nicole Gutierrez
I have always been a diligent planner. I remember planning a vacation as a kid down to the cost of dessert and the tip for the waiter. This desire to plan has stuck with me and has been very helpful as I have gained financial responsibility as a college student. Read more…

Being Smart with Your Money when Your Next Meal isn’t Coming from the Dining Hall
By Nia Martin
Academics should be the top priority when it comes to attending college; but other things, like food, should be considered too. According to Feeding America, “The average college meal plan costs about $4,500 per year or $18.75 per day,” and some students have to make the tough decision between food and education. Read more…

Learning to Shed the Stress
By Sherell J. Williams
If you took personal finance at my high school, you would have been subjected to personal finance expert Dave Ramsey’s teachings. At the time, I was incredulously watching him talk about how I can pay for college in cash, not have a car payment, and perhaps the most painful concept of all… patience. Read more…

Working as an RA Has Been a Learning Experience
By Amari Foster
Residential Advisors have the opportunity to be deemed mentors and leaders in the residence halls of colleges, universities, and other similar institutions. In college, the job not only is a great way to build personal and professional skills, but it bridges a connection to the residents in forms of leadership, service, and involvement opportunities on campus. Read more…

Lowering Your Book Costs with a Bit of Effort
By Angelina Edwards
Everyone can agree that college is expensive. Between tuition, housing, and other fees, the cost tends to pile up fast, even with scholarships and financial aid. Fortunately, a large majority of my college costs are covered by my financial aid package. While the cost of college for me is lower than it may be for others, it surely is not completely free. Read more…

Styling as a Student, but on a Budget
By Sireen Abayazid
I never truly got to explore my personal sense of style until about a year ago. The pressure of what my parents would find acceptable overwhelmed my desire to feel confident in myself and the clothes I wore. Like a lot of people, I went down a rabbit hole of self-exploration during the dreadful summer months of 2020. I have this perfect image of my future self and the clothes she’s wearing, and not much money to buy those clothes. Read more…


Spring 2020

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Fall 2017

Spring 2017