Cash conscious: Financial planning leads to success, less stress

Devinn Winkleman

Living in today’s world as a college student has become very expensive. A little over $4,000 will buy you a semester’s worth of tuition, and a few hundred more will buy your textbooks, but what about a roof over your head, food and other expenses? What’s it all going to cost you?

WKU’s website lists a hefty price from $7,452 to $8,456 for the Fall 2012 semester and double that for the Spring 2013 semester — that is, if you’re in-state. If you’re out of state, the annual costs can range from $27,432 to $29,440. That’s like buying two brand-new cars every year for the next four years!

So, how are you supposed to pay for such an expense if you don’t have a good job or well-paid family members to rely on? Loans are the obvious answer. But what if you graduate and can’t find a job? You have to pay your lenders back, but how?

These kinds of questions have overwhelmed some students so bad that it’s brought them to their knees while others have had to sacrifice food for education just to make it to graduation.

Fortunately, there’s a new program being steered by Financial Planning Program Director Andrew Head who can help tackle these tough financial matters one step at a time. It’s called the WKU Financial Success Initiative, and it’s open to not only students but also almost anyone who is concerned or has a question about their finances.

“We hope to have a broader financial counseling program where we’re discussing people’s budgets, their debt issues,” Head said.

For students, the main issue that they usually bring to him is about money, but that’s only what it starts out with.

Head said a lot of them are under a significant amount of financial stress, and it’s not acknowledged nearly enough. Even if they’re not feeling the full force of it, it’s still there in the back of their minds.

“It tends to get emotional for a lot of students,” he said. “I’ve had a number of students break down in tears in my office because of the stress that this creates.”

Maybe because they’ve racked up a pile of credit card debt and are gambling on having a good job once they graduate or are worrying about how they’re going to pay for textbooks and classes. Worse yet, there are some students who are struggling to eat at night because they simply don’t have money for food.

If you are one of these students, know that you’re not alone and the Financial Success Initiative is more than willing to help you out with these types of issues.

To set up an appointment for a free consultation, contact Head through email at [email protected] or call 745-4733.