6 Things to Know About Student Loans Before You Start School

The summer before your freshman year in college means choosing classes, checking out your future roommate’s Instagram and figuring out how you’re going to pay the bills. Chances are you will need a loan: 2 out of 3 students have debt when they leave school, according to 2017 graduate data from the Institute for College … Continued

Dorm Costs Have Soared, but Many Freshmen Have No Choice

Living in the dorms is a rite of passage for millions of first-year college students. But like the rest of the college experience, it’s costly. And in many cases it’s mandatory. Moving my only daughter into the dorms of scenic Appalachian State University her freshman year was tough on us both, but an exciting time. … Continued

Distance Learning Can Fit Into Your Back-to-School Budget

For many students, “going back to school” this fall could be just a figure of speech. As the pandemic persists, the decision about whether to allow in-person learning or keep classrooms closed is coming down to the wire. The possibilities of distance learning are influencing how much families anticipate spending on back-to-school purchases. Parents with … Continued

Will You Get a Refund If COVID-19 Closes Your Campus?

Many colleges are welcoming students back for in-person learning and dormitory living this fall semester. Looming over everything: Campuses could shut back down at any time. With COVID-19 cases still high, many colleges are developing shutdown contingency plans alongside their reopening arrangements. At the same time, the pandemic is fueling new debate about whether colleges should … Continued

Back-to-School Shopping: Kids Influenced by Social Media Push Parents to Overspend

Kids pushing their parents for the coolest in back-to-school gear is a late-summer tradition, and today, youngsters have some backup: social media influencers. Peer and social media influences on children are not news unto themselves, but it turns out these factors are affecting how parents spend their back-to-school dollars, according to a new NerdWallet survey … Continued

7 Things College Freshmen Don’t Need — and 10 They Do

Those ubiquitous checklists of “dorm room essentials” for college freshmen are filled with items that will be ditched by the end of first semester. Some parents “go to the store and grab a list like they did when their kids were in elementary and high school and just go straight down the list,” says Lisa … Continued

How Much You’ll Really Pay for That Student Loan

Those who graduate college with student loans owe close to $30,000 on average, according to the most recent data from the Institute for College Access & Success. But they’ll likely repay thousands more than that because of interest. One key to limiting interest cost is choosing the right repayment plan. The bottom line? Opting for lower … Continued

Ask Brianna: I’m 18. Should I Worry About My Credit Yet?

“Ask Brianna” is a column for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna@nerdwallet.com. Good credit opens up a … Continued

Accepted! How to Decipher Your College Aid

With college acceptances in hand, now comes the hard part: understanding your financial aidoffers. These letters are notorious for being laden with jargon that differs from offer to offer, making comparison difficult. But you can learn how to interpret award letters to understand the costs and choose an affordable option. What to expect from aid offers … Continued

Why College Students Take on Loans They Can’t Repay

Students take on college debt with the best of intentions. They’ve been told that a college degree is a ticket to success. That they should pursue their dreams. That student debt is good debt. But how do smart students wind up with debt they can’t repay? Here are three reasons, plus ways to avoid these … Continued