Managing personal finances is a valuable skill that’ll help you feel more in control of your life. One of the ways you can do this is gaining a clear understanding of your college expenses. You’ll need to factor in expenses such as tuition and fees, housing, meals, parking, and money for going out with friends. After that, you’ll need to make sure that your income is greater than what you’re spending – or that you’re getting the best loans possible to meet your life circumstances.
Manage Your College Expenses
Step 1: Understand Your Expenses
Tuition and Fees
Tuition is the cost of your experience at UMass. Fees are additional costs related to enrolling in and attending the University. The Office of the Bursar posts the amounts due along with billing and payment information. Be in touch with the Office of the Bursar with any billing questions.
Residence Life Housing Fees
Review the housing room rates and fees to evaluate your cost of living on campus. Doing so will help you understand your options and know exactly how much you’re paying each semester.
With your meal plan, you have access to top quality food across campus. UMass offers a variety of different types. Learn more about the plans available and choose what’s best for you.
A parking permit allows you to park regularly for the year with one fee. Parking meters exist in various locations throughout campus. To eliminate parking fees, consider walking, biking or utilizing PVTA, the local bus.
The amount you need to budget for spending time with friends is unique to you and your friend group. Spend a month keeping a detailed record of how much you spend socializing to get a clearer picture of how much you should set aside – and commit to that amount.
Other Miscellaneous Spending
Also track how much you spend each month on things like haircuts, toiletries, gifts, bills, clothing, and other miscellaneous items. This may not be consistent month-to-month, but it should give you a basic understanding of your expenses, and might show you some areas where you could pare down your spending.
Step 2: Manage Your Expenses
Learn About Your On-Campus Financial Team
…and get to know them. Ask them questions. Go to their events. Comb through their websites. Make sure you understand the details of billing, loans, scholarships, etc. Your financial team is a huge key to your financial success at UMass and beyond.
Whether it’s on-campus or off, you’ll likely want to get a job. Finding a job that earns you incoming and builds valuable skills you can use later down the line is a double win. For more information about how to get a job, visit the Student Employment Office.
Learn How to Budget
Keeping track of your spending is hugely important. If you know exactly where your money goes, you are more in-control. You can learn strategies for budgeting with Smart About Money (SAM). Visit the SAM website for information about budgeting guidance and resources, or schedule a free half-hour coaching session with a SAM Peer Financial Coach.
Am I required to have health insurance?
Massachusetts requires college students to have comprehensive health insurance, thus UMass Amherst offers a Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP). However, students with comparable coverage under another major medical insurance can apply for a waiver to the SHBP.
How much do textbooks cost?
Each textbook has a different price. However, the cost of textbooks generally ranges from $500 to $1000 per academic year, so that’s $250 to $500 per semester.
Are financial aid or scholarships available to help offset the expenses associated with college?
Yes! Talk with Financial Aid services to learn more about the types of aid and your eligibility.