How students at Kent can save money

Student Saving

Student Saving

Kate Schwanke

With 76 percent of Kent State students having an average debt of $31,543 after graduating, many are looking to save money.

Mark Evans, director of financial aid, said there are many ways the university can assist students but it’s important to start early.

“In a perfect world, saving for college would really start before you’re in college,” Evans said. “Time is the biggest asset families have in their favor to save for college. The sooner you can start saving, the quicker that money will compound.”

Kent State students are assigned to a counselor in the Student Financial Aid Office based off of the first letter of their last name and this gives students the opportunity to build a relationship with one person instead of seeing someone new every time they come in, Evans said.

Kent State also offers a vast amount of scholarships to students to help them save money.

Anissa Strickland, associate director of financial aid, said there are between 600 and 700 scholarship programs offered between Kent’s main campus and eight regional campuses.

“We might give ten scholarships under one program or there might be one or a hundred, it just depends on how much money is available in that particular program,” Strickland said.

Strickland also recommends that students check back on scholarships often because information is constantly updated.

“It’s not something you can do once a year, even once a semester isn’t enough,” Strickland said. “You have to put as much time and energy into finding money for college as you would a part time job.”

Many students around campus have taken the initiative to save money not only over the summer and winter breaks, but also during the school year.

J.J. Martin, a freshman fashion merchandising major, said his transition from high school to college has made him more conscious about what he spends money on.

“You can’t do as many leisure activities as you want, like I would like to go snowboarding many more times this year but I’ve only gone once because I want to save money,” Martin said.

Along with working in the summer and the two scholarships he receives, he saves money by not going out to eat as much, not attending movies and only doing laundry when necessary, Martin said.

Kara Anderson, a freshman accounting major, said she tries to eliminate the unnecessary things and puts more thought into what she is buying.  She also said she saves money by finding other things to do with friends where they can stay on campus.

“I don’t go out with friends as much, we’ll just stay at the dorm and do something so that takes away from going out to eat or movies,” Anderson said.

Martin and Anderson both agree that future student debt is worth the education they are receiving at Kent State.

“I think in the end getting to a place that you want to be at career wise is worth it, as long as that’s what you want to do,” Anderson said.

Evans said that Kent State offers many opportunities to save money and challenges students to take 15 or 16 credit hours per semester to eventually reduce their student debt.

“There are many reports out there including our Ohio Board of Regions that students with higher academic credentials over a lifetime earn significantly more income than those without any higher education,” Evans said.  “Even saving as little as $10 a week can be worth tens of thousands of dollars 17 years later.”

Contact Kate Schwanke at [email protected].