Written by Ashley D. Tucker, CFP® on June 14, 2024

If you or someone you know is a parent of one of the over 18 million students headed off to begin or continue their undergraduate studies this fall, we thought it would be helpful to highlight an important aspect that often arises during this time of year: financial considerations for college students.


With tuition more than doubling since the 1960s, it is essential to plan wisely to ensure a smooth transition in and through the college years. Included below are some practical tips and considerations for college students:

  1. Budgeting basics: Encourage your student to create a budget, outlining their expenses (i.e., tuition, books, housing, food, and miscellaneous costs). This process should be completed annually to make necessary adjustments. The practice will also help to set them up for success as life as an adult post-graduation.
  2. Responsible borrowing education: Knowing the implications of student loans and/or credit card usage, and the importance of borrowing responsibly is crucial. Talk honestly and regularly with your student about the long-term impact of student loan and/or credit card debt on financial goals post-graduation.
  3. Understand your tax-advantaged savings plans: If you have a 529 plan or Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA), ensure you and your student know how to use it.  These accounts offer tax benefits and can help offset the burden of tuition and related costs, but distributions must be used for qualifying expenses. Explore the distribution options in advance to determine your best course of action when expenses arise.
  4. Encourage part-time work: While focusing on academics is essential, encourage your student to consider part-time work or internships to supplement their income and gain work experience to help build their resume.
  5. Take advantage of student discounts and resources: Apple, Verizon, Sam’s Club, and Amazon Prime are just a few of the companies that offer education discounts. You can find a comprehensive list here to help your student maximize these opportunities. Additionally, encourage your student to utilize campus resources such as career services and financial literacy programs.
  6. Plan for post-graduation repayment: Whether graduation is one or four years away, help your student develop a plan for post-graduation debt repayment, considering factors such as income-driven repayment plans, loan consolidation, and/or strategies for accelerating debt repayment.
  7. Prepare for emergencies: Establishing an emergency fund is crucial to prepare for unexpected expenses that may arise during the college years. Additionally, consider creating essential legal documents such as a power of attorney, a living will, and a HIPAA authorization for your young adult.


We hope these tips provide helpful insights. Waverly Advisors is here to offer personalized guidance and support to help you make sense of this formative time in your student’s life.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Advisor with any questions or concerns.


Disclosure: Please Note: The scope of the services to be provided depends upon the needs of the client and the terms of the engagement.  A copy of Waverly’s current written disclosure Brochure and Form CRS (Customer Relationship Summary) discussing our advisory services and fees remain available at You should not assume that any information provided serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Waverly Advisors, LLC (“Waverly”). This article reflects information available at the time it was written and should be used as a reference only. Talk to your Waverly advisor, or a professional advisor of your choosing, for the most current information and for guidance specific to your situation.



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