College Connect

Students who write for the College Connect blog describe their own experiences handling and managing money and credit.

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).

Spring 2023

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

Sometimes you just have to give things up to get what you want
By Reyna Katko
Growing up, my family didn’t always have a ton of money. My mother provided an amazing life for me, but she couldn’t afford to pay for my out-of-state college education on a teacher’s salary.  Read more… 

The easiest way to do a monthly budget while enjoying college
By Ethan Cole
I’m going to start this off by saying I did not have advice on how to budget I was simply told “It would be a good idea.”  Read more… 

Budgeting while abroad: The Guinness can wait
By Connor Mills
I believe that if a college student has the opportunity to study abroad — they should take it.  Read more… 

Out-of-state universities are not out of reach
By Sydney Boeger
In the last semester of my undergraduate degree, I asked my dad what the cost difference was for me to attend a public out-of-state university compared to my sister attending a public in-state university.  Read more… 

How to work multiple jobs while in college
By Karly Balslew
It was two days after I turned sixteen, I started my first job working at McDonald’s. Since that day, I have always worked a job. Sometimes two jobs, this semester three, but I was always at least working one job.  Read more… 

Eating clean on a budget in college
By Jordan Thornsberry
The cost of groceries has risen more than 10.2% in the last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Read more… 

Exploring financial literacy and being discount obsessed
By Chelsi Peter
Living in college and having the freedom to buy whatever you want isn’t all the hype people make it up to be.  Read more… 

You’re never too broke for a free trial
By Rachael Henderson
In my opinion, college is all about learning how to finesse. This can manifest in multiple different ways, but the biggest way is money.  Read more… 

Smart swaps for saving for college students
By Ellie Marshall
College. Some consider it the best four years of their life, while for others, graduation could not come sooner.  Read more…

Community college: is it a good financial choice?
By Konrad Strzalka
What do Loyola University Chicago, George Washington University, and the University of South Carolina all have in common?  Read more…  

Cost-cutting-couture: How to dress like you’re in ‘Vogue’ on a college kid budget 
By Steffi Roche
Perhaps your favorite film is “The Devil Wears Prada.” Maybe you just binged “Sex and the City” and you are pining for Carrie Bradshaw’s collection of Fendi “Baguettes.”  Read more…  

To go to work or finish your homework? That’s the question. 
By Lacey Reeves
Oh, to live the dream! You graduate high school, go to college, and after earning your degree you enter the workforce in your intended field.  Read more…

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia 

The importance of renters insurance 
By Clay Witt
Cam Bloodworth, a senior at the University of Georgia, is one student who regrets forgoing renters insurance when he and his roommates signed a lease on their rental house.  Read more… 

Tips for college graduates settling into new housing 
By Jared Smith
Gavin Collier will be graduating from the University of Georgia at the end of this semester and is applying for jobs and preparing for a career, possibly in a different state.  Read more… 

Six tips for landing a scholarship 
By Katie Wall
Danielle Emefiele, a fourth-year University of Georgia student, said receiving the university’s Foundation Fellowship Scholarship has been a lifeline for her education journey.  Read more… 

College students combat rising grocery store prices 
By Ethan Wells
Levi Sheffield, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, said he found a solution to rising food prices by sharing the bills with roommates and friends.  Read more… 

Why students should start building credit in college
By Chloe Savan
Brody Humphries, a third-year college student, started building his credit during his senior year of high school. Now, at 21 years old, he can report an excellent credit score of 782.  Read more… 

Preparing college students for graduation 
By RJ Taylor 
A wealth advisor encouraged students who are struggling to find a job to be patient in this current labor market.  Read more… 

What students need to know about repaying loans 
By Tim O’Brien
A financial planning professor at the University of Georgia is on a mission to improve what students know and understand about their loans.  Read more… 

Part-time jobs in college can bolster resumes 
By Erin Diehl
Abby Tucker, a third-year student at the University of Georgia, has had two part-time jobs and a weekly volunteer shift.  Read more… 

Weighing options: How college graduates should handle their health insurance 
By Raleigh Rollins
As Hilton Beck prepares for his upcoming graduation from the University of Georgia, he knows he will be confronting some significant financial decisions.  Read more…  

College budgeting: Balancing adult and student life 
By Gracie Englund 
When third-year management student Jeffrey Kempski started classes at the University of Georgia, the number of students who did not manage their money shocked him, he said.  Read more… 

Cryptocurrency may be educational, but not an investment
By Isaac Ashby 
As a computer science major at the University of Georgia, NIkolai Loparev said he has followed cryptocurrency since its inception.  Read more… 

What every student renter should know before signing a lease 
By Kelsey Ball
An apartment leasing manager in Athens, Georgia, a college town, said any student signing a lease should first understand if they have the financial means to pay on their own.  Read more… 

Ways to pay for graduate school
By Jacqueline GaNun
Before last year, I never thought I would go to graduate school. After all, the average tuition and fees for a master’s in journalism is nearly $28,000 per year for out-of-state students, according to College Tuition Compare.  Read more…  

Minimizing the risk of financial apps 
By Sailor Betts
There’s an app for that. When it comes to managing money, the options for apps can seem endless. But are financial apps a secure way for students to manage their money?  Read more… 

Students can thrive as entrepreneurs 
By Patrick Barry 
Apple. Facebook. Microsoft. What do these iconic businesses have in common? They were all started by founders who had dropped out of college, according to  Read more… 

Tax season doesn’t need to be scary: 3 tips for college students
By Erin Kenney 
Natalie Rotolo juggles several jobs. In 2022, the University of Georgia senior worked as an assistant for one of her professors, a cashier at a cafe and as a student worker in her program’s equipment rental room.  Read more… 

College students and the expense of owning a pet 
By Lindsey Bornhorst 
When Mary Kathryn Lynch, a junior at the University of Georgia, decided to take on a pet, she said she considered the decision for months, knowing it would be a full-time responsibility.  Read more…  

Parents influence college students’ decisions about credit cards 
By Tyler Blount 
Sana Chaudhry, a sophomore at the University of Georgia, has her own credit card, but said she uses it only for weekly expenses such as coffee and gas.  Read more… 

Weighing the benefits of studying abroad 
By Ben Pattavina
For 20-year-old Tarpley Herlihy, a marketing and finance double major at the University of Georgia, studying abroad in Cortona was a no-brainer.  Read more… 

Can college students learn about personal finance from TikTok? 
By Audrie Uphues 
A financial planning lecturer at the University of Georgia said college students can learn about personal finance through TikTok, a popular social media site, but urged them to exercise caution.  Read more…

Fall 2022

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

Don’t stress about money and eat some Hot Fries
By Cole Schnell
If you are anything like me, you stress about all your purchases, whether it’s food, shoes or college tuition.  Read more… 

How to budget for a study abroad experience
By Maria Schneider
Depending on your major, a lot of college students decide to study abroad during their undergraduate studies.

Do you really need a car during college? 
By Lucas Owens
How much do you actually “need” a car during college? Growing up through high school, there are a lot of expenses that people do not realize the true cost of.  Read more… 

The etiquette of paying friends through Venmo
By Alysia Marquez
College students are faced with an etiquette dilemma; how do we politely go about our Venmo transactions?
Read more… 

Beware of the ‘pay later’ syndrome when shopping 
By Adrian Maddox
In a materialistic world, it can be difficult to stay up to date with all the latest trends in fashion and technology.  Read more… 

Living within your budget while living off campus
By Lianna Johnson 
Listen, dorm life is not for everybody. And that’s okay! After my first year living on campus at the University of Missouri I moved out faster than they could finish the M-I-Z chant.  Read more…  

Car repair is a valuable college education 
By Erik Galicia
It can be a little embarrassing to be a grown man and admit “I don’t know anything about cars.”  Read more… 

The gambling epidemic on college campuses
By Kortay Vincent
Before I begin, I want to say that I love gambling, I think it’s a great entertainment, and I unequivocally think it should be legal in all 50 states. However, like any vice, I believe moderation is key.  Read more… 

Comfortable to unemployed: how I coped with losing my Job as a broke college student 
By Gabriella Aros
Entering the Fall 2022 semester, I had it all. I was starting my last year of college and worked part time at an apartment complex that allowed me to gain customer service and administrative experience.  Read more… 

How to afford college without scholarships or financial aid 
By Reagan Di Trolio
College is extremely expensive, and it is only getting pricier as time goes on, we all know that.  Read more… 

Should I get a credit card in college?
By Alyssa Frank
Getting a credit card in college sounds like a useful plan, but what are the real benefits?  Read more…  

Why you, a college student, should start a business
By Reagan Wiles
Typically, when you think of a college student, there are some common descriptors that come to mind, “poor,” “hungover,” “ramen noodles,” (that is not a descriptor – but it should be.)  Read more…

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia

Second Chance at Studying Abroad Happens with Community Support
By Troyce Grant
Taylor Potter, a graduate student at the University of Georgia, had dreamed of attending the Cannes Film Festival in France as an undergraduate.  Read more…

Managing Credit Card Debt in College
By Victoria Gospodinov
Credit cards can be a useful introduction into the world of personal finances and managing expenses in college, but a financial planning expert warns student cardholders to avoid excessive debt.  Read more…

Entrepreneurship competitions help college students start their own businesses
By Jacqueline GaNun
Valeria Brenner never thought she would be an entrepreneur.  Read more…

Having a pet in college: is it a responsible choice?
By Abby Chapman
The American Veterinary Medical Association says on its website: “Owning a pet is a privilege that brings us great rewards.” But that privilege and those rewards come with a large responsibility that must be considered.  Read more…

Will budgeting apps help save money?
By Owen Burtt
The average cumulative debt of a bachelor’s degree recipient who took out a student loan is $28,400, according to the College Board’s 2020 data. So, how should students start developing good money habits so they aren’t completely blindsided when leaving college?  Read more…

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by Your Car Mechanic
By Ramon Elortondo
Pepper Smith, a student at the University of North Georgia in Gainesville, Georgia, recounted what many have felt when having to take their car to a mechanic.  Read more…

The Uncertainty and Stigma of Student Loans
By Michael Banks
Grace Colson applied to college knowing that an undergraduate degree would be an endeavor that she alone would be responsible for funding. While support from academic awards like the Georgia-based Zell Miller Scholarship make that responsibility a little less daunting, it does not eliminate the financial burden of college entirely.  Read more…

Working While Studying
By Bella Guerrero
Tanner Rowlands, a fourth-year public relations student at the University of Georgia, works part-time at Athens Health and Fitness, which makes him one of the many employed undergraduate students, according to recent education statistics.  Read more…

Savings Account as a College Student: A Must 
By Abby Chapman
Gianna Joyce, a senior finance major at the University of Georgia, has had a savings account opened for all of her college years.  Read more…

Renters insurance: Is it worth it for college students?
By Lucinda Warnke
When Claire Grant, a University of Georgia senior studying social work, was signing her first lease, she had never heard of renters insurance. That is, until her apartment complex informed her purchasing renters insurance was required to live there.  Read more…

Student health insurance when a parents’ plan isn’t the best option
By Chloe Savan
Health insurance can give even the most advanced students a headache when trying to determine their best option.  Read more…

How One Clothing Closet Seeks to Ease Financial Burden for Students
By Jack Rhodes
Mary Ziegler, a student at the University of Georgia, knows the need for professional clothing all too well after going through numerous job interviews, information sessions and career fairs before ultimately receiving her first offer.  Read more…

Increases in Food Prices Costs Students
By Spencer Pipkin
Increased fuel and rent prices, along with inflation, are on the top of most Americans’ minds—especially college students.  Read more…

Is Going to College Out-of-State Worth the Extra Expense?
By Lauren Minnick
As college is growing more expensive, many students opt to attend a university in their home state to help save on tuition costs. At the University of Georgia, in-state students can expect to save over $19,000 annually compared to their out-of-state peers, according to UGA’s Undergraduate Admissions website.  Read more…

How to conquer grocery shopping while on a college student’s budget
By Molly Linder
From high school to college, there are many things that students must figure out – such as, mapping out classes, jobs, time management, tuition, parking passes and how to grocery shop and cook for themselves.  Read more…

Credit Scores and College Students
By Kate Hester
College students have a lot to worry about: grades, roommates, clubs and parties, maybe a job or two, and sometimes, a credit card bill.  Read more…

Business Office Processes Makes Scholarships Possible
By Troyce Grant
It is common for students at the University of Georgia to receive scholarships based on their academic accomplishments. But awarding those scholarships depends on intricate business office processes that most students never consider.  Read more…

How to get ahead in the media industry from the people who did
By Jacqueline GaNun
There are many ways to forge a career path in the media industry.  Read more…

Students Should Understand the Lease Before Renting
By Molly Linder
A University of Georgia housing expert offered some direct advice for students faced with the decision of where to live.  Read more…

How to Protect Yourself When Sharing Rent in College
By Lauren Minnick
Students at the University of Georgia who live off-campus often choose to have roommates, but sharing rent and other expenses has the potential to be financially stressful, especially for first time renters unaware of ways to protect their finances prior to signing a lease.  Read more…

Spring 2022

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia

Eating in Can Save College Students Money
By Spencer Donovan
Max Kaufman, a senior sport management major at the University of Georgia, used to prepare his weekly meals every Sunday. Now, the Plainfield, Illinois, native has an unlimited meal plan at the university dining halls, which he said is convenient for his lifestyle.  Read more…

There is No Price for Safety
By Troyce Grant
After a rainy day in Athens, Georgia, college student Riley Herring was driving to Aldi when the driver of a Toyota RAV 4 slammed the brakes in front of her. Herring pressed hers, but the pavement was so slippery she hydroplaned and smashed into the small vehicle.  Read more…

Taxes Don’t Have to Be Scary for College Students
By Caroline Nixon
When University of Georgia student, Reed Stout, thinks about filing his own taxes, he is overwhelmed by the complexity. A student at the Terry College of Business, Stout has analyzed taxes at a high level, but not from a personal finance perspective. Read more…

The Importance of FAFSA for First-Generation College Students
By Michael Banks
Filling out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) was the key to multiple grants, scholarships and funding opportunities that allowed Lytzy Hernandez to attend college. Hernandez,  a third-year exercise and sports science major at the University of Georgia, is the first in her family to go to college and works to provide opportunities for community and professional development to fellow first-generation college students as the president of First Gen UGA. Read more…

Credit Unions vs. Banks: Where should college students look to put their money?
By Thomas Ehlers
Logan Brooks is a fourth-year financial planning student at the University of Georgia. He is a customer of a small bank in his rural Georgia town, but with job opportunities across the South, he contemplates if moving his money to a larger entity would help with accessing his accounts after graduation. Read more…

Is Studying Abroad Worth the Expense?
By Eloise Cappelletti
In our increasingly globalized and interconnected world, studying abroad can be a particularly beneficial opportunity, according to a professor who runs study abroad programs at the University of Georgia. “Any chance to go to a different culture and see how they do it is really eye-opening and valuable,” said Bynum Boley, a professor of parks, recreation, and tourism management.  Read more…

What College Students Should Know about Robinhood
By Stefan Caray
When Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt founded Robinhood in 2013, the company’s website said the two wanted to create “a company that leverages technology to encourage everyone to participate in our financial system.” Instead of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, Robinhood said its mission is to “democratize finance for all.”  Read more…

Know Where Your Money is Going: Tips for budgeting as a college student
By Erin Kenney
Working as a lifeguard at a summer camp, University of Georgia junior Emma Duncan started to worry about her money.  She was spending more than she was making, and she needed her tiny paychecks to buy food through the summer months, she said. Read more…

Be Yourself in the Scholarship Application Process
By Lily Pryor
Tate Hunda, a fourth-year pre-veterinary student at the University of Georgia, said he has more financial freedom thanks to his scholarship through the Foundation Fellowship program. Scholarship applications are often daunting, but the results from winning one can change a student’s college experience, Hunda said. His program, for example, provides for experiences outside of the university. Read more…

The Loan Forgiveness Dilemma
By Wynn Andrews
Tom Eldridge, a biology major at the University of Georgia, plans to attend dental school next year. Since graduating high school, he has worked each summer to save money and pay for college tuition himself. Read more…

Affordable Care Act Spurs Young Adults to Buy into Health Insurance
By Kylee Stone
Ashley Childers was diagnosed with a medical condition called pseudotumor cerebri while in high school. This diagnosis required frequent medical services including regular appointments with a therapist and a psychiatrist. She depended on her parents’ medical insurance in order to afford these medical visits and medication, including one called Latuda that she took for about one year. Read more…

Making the Move to Off-Campus Living
By Matthew Welsh
Since leaving her freshman year dorm in 2020, Maggie Martin has lived in three different locations including in a sorority house, an apartment and a five-person house. Martin, a junior at the University of Georgia, said her frequent relocations exposed the financial realities of off-campus living. Read more…

Are Venmo and Zelle Safe?
By Emma Bennett
Cash transfer apps like Venmo and Zelle have become so common on college campuses that a University of Georgia student compared their popularity and recognition to that of a Coke bottle. According to Investopedia, cash transfer apps allow users to transfer money quickly and easily, either from peer-to-peer or bank-to-bank. Read more…

College Students Need Renter’s Insurance
By Bobby Andrews
Based on her firsthand experience, University of Georgia student Priya Patel said college students don’t understand the value of renters insurance.  Read more…

Getting a Head Start on Paying for Medical School
By Sabrina Laster
Hannah Everest aspires to become a doctor, but the cellular biology major in her senior year at the University of Georgia said she has had trouble navigating the financial logistics of medical school.  Read more … 

Moving after college? Consider the costs of settling into your new town
By Alander Rocha
Prachi Jhamb said she endured quite the culture shock when she moved from India to the United States for her doctorate.  Read more…

Effective Ways to Negotiate a Starting Salary
By Victoria Gospodinov
When recent University of Georgia graduate Grace Fitzgerald was offered her first post-college job offer, she said she overlooked the importance of the salary negotiation process and missed the opportunity to request a higher salary.  Read more…

Starting a Business in College Could be the Best Time
By Ryan Kerley
Adam Dent has been an entrepreneur since he was in fifth grade.  Read more…

Owning a Pet on a College Student’s Budget
By Simone Eames
When Alexandra Fisher adopted a kitten her sophomore year, she said her mom’s first response was “fine, but we’re not helping you pay for it.”  Read more…

Credit Cards: The Good and Bad for College Students
By Keshondra Shipp
A national survey revealed that fewer than 7% of college students have a credit card of their own, but Janet Miller has been one of them since 2019.  Read more…

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

Frugality Can Be a Student’s Best Friend
By Kaleb Anderson
To be a young adult is to constantly make decisions, and the root of every decision is money. The decision to continue school or begin working is centered around if you can afford to go to school. Decisions about where to go to school comes down to what schools you can afford to attend. Read more…

Navigating Rising Prices While in College
By Alphine Bangura
Balancing my academic life with work isn’t new for me. I started working at 15 and have worked part-time ever since, so I have years of experience making difficult choices about working as a student. But was not prepared for the historically high inflation that we are experiencing now. Read more…

Deciding on Summer Vacation, Home or Travel?
By Kevin Ma
When it comes to spending money while attending college, the biggest expense for you as a Chinese exchange student is the airfare to come to school and back home. Back in 2019 and before, the round trip could be considered very convenient and the supply of airline tickets could meet the total demand of students, so the price was relatively stable in terms of price. But with the outbreak of the epidemic in 2020, China and the United States through flights have plummeted, and even once canceled through flights. Read more…

Money is Ingrained in Our Childhood Memories
By Cinthia Martinez
Some of my first memories all revolve around money. It’s a topic for so many families that can’t be avoided, no matter what the conversation is about. For my family, the money was always just enough for the necessities, but the stress surrounding buying the necessities was more than enough to influence my spending habits for years to come. Read more…

Attempting to Finish School with Little Financial Support
By Tillman McClunie
Ending my junior year of college, I thought I had everything together and knew how my senior year was going to fall out. But during my second semester. My parents had paid for my freshman year as far as housing and tuition. But attending a Division I university like the University of Missouri isn’t cheap whether you’re paying in-state or out-of-state tuition. Read more…

Working in College is All About Preservation and Determination
By Sydney Minor
It was Thanksgiving break. I was almost done with my first semester of college, and I was ready to come back and stay on top of my work. I was driving back to Columbia from Greenbrier, Arkansas, on November 26. As a freshman going to a university 6 hours away from home, if I want any extra money, I must work for it. Read more…

College Doesn’t Fully Prepare You to Manage Your Money
By Afshan Musani
Managing finances is an important aspect of life and yet it’s not something that you get to learn in school. You learn how a plant produces oxygen from adenosine triphosphate, but you don’t get to learn how to handle the money that you possess. Then you go off to college, you get a stable job while studying and make your living, pay your bills and run your kingdom with absolutely no prior knowledge of how difficult it’s going to be. Read more…

I May Have Worked Odd Jobs in College, but It Was the Best Experience Ever
By Ilda Okanovic
As a graduating senior, I can safely say that my college experience was a great one. I made new friends, studied something I was genuinely interested in, and grew into a person I didn’t know I could be throughout these four years. The punchline of that joke was that like 43 percent of all undergrads, I was working constantly through it. Read more…

Freelance Spending with a Credit Card: College Edition
By Chelsi Peter
Sign up for a credit card they say, we have the best interest rates and zero fees for a year they say. That’s exactly how credit card companies’ prey on college students at their most vulnerable state. Many students still trying to keep up with the mountains of loan payments and the eeriness of their debt crowding up. Any chance to be able to purchase an item without having to essentially pay “right away” seems desirable. Read more…

Earn a U.S. Undergraduate Degree in a Cheaper Way
By Zeyu Wang
As a Chinese international student, studying in the U.S. has been my childhood dream
since I first visited Yale University when I was 14 years old. But I know that compared to going to college in China, which is nearly free for me, studying in the U.S. is very expensive. The opportunity cost of studying at MU for me is $1000 per year, but I must pay about $40,000 per year for the tuition fee in MU. MU is much cheaper than private colleges or universities in big cities. WashU, a private college, costs $57,750 per year for international students. Read more…

Do I Really Know the Value of a Dollar?
By Ryan Wilson
As a kid growing up in a moderately middle-class suburban town, I always grew up being aware of how much money can affect your life. From club sports to be able to go out to a fancy dinner, money ruled my town and the people around me. Throughout my 19 years of life, I have always had a personal struggle with money. My parents would like to always say: “You don’t understand the value of a dollar, Ryan.” That phrase has always stuck with me. Saving money has been something that I have been struggling with over the years and even more in college. Read more…

Getting Scholarship Money is Tough Work
By Molly Wright
There’s one thing every senior in high school is thinking about… college. We take our SATs and ACTs, write our college admissions essays and countless scholarship essays. Over the course of my senior year of high school, I applied for 12 scholarships independent of the university I planned to attend. Read more…

Past College Connect Blogs

Fall 2021

Spring 2021

Fall 2020

Spring 2020

Fall 2019

Spring 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

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Spring 2017

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