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Blog > 2009 > July > There's more to college finances than pa...
July 07, 2009

There's more to college finances than paying tuition

My daughter is almost prepared to move off to her first year at college. It has been interesting to watch her prepare for the event. Most of the summer was spent almost in denial that the move was coming. Now, when there are only a couple of weeks before move-in day, the activities are increasing. She is organizing lists of items to remember to pack, to purchase, and to make sure her roommates are bringing. The questions go like this: Is anyone bringing a microwave, TV, dvd player, etc.? What is your cell number? Do you have a txt’ing plan? Are you on Facebook?

Observing all this I reflected on how little I took to college my freshman year. A bicycle, a large suitcase full of clothes, laundry supplies, some school supplies, an Apple IIe, and a checkbook are really the only things that I recall. The recollection got me thinking about how different this will be for Kristen.

One of my biggest challenges was managing finances from 2.5 hours away from a branch in a time when branches were necessary for deposits. Back in that day, phone banking much less PC banking were non-existent, ATMs only talked to the bank they were in, the only plastic that could be used for a purchase was a Credit Card and no one my age had one of those. So, I had the only tool available a checkbook. When my checkbook balance got low, I had to pay for a long distance call to my parents so they could go to the branch at home and transfer money from their account into my checking account.

By contrast, my daughter has a Reward Checking account (earning 4.51% interest), online banking, phone banking, and a Debit Card. Her accounts and mine are at Finance Center FCU. When she needs extra funds, I can transfer them from my account to her account 24x7 and the funds move in real-time using a PC, an ATM, or the phone. She has a checkbook but the box of checks she received will probably last until after her college graduation, because she does not write checks; she uses her debit card for purchases.

Her school is 4 hours from a Finance Center FCU branch , but if she gets a check while at school she can go to either an ATM or a Shared Branch Service Center in her town to deposit the item into her account. She will probably never get a check from a student, they all use PayPal to transfer funds when splitting a pizza bill, and the school uses direct deposit and direct debits.

When I was at college, I had to keep my checkbook balanced or I would never know when I was running low on funds. Kristen’s Finance Center FCU account sends her an email when her balance is below any threshold she has set. She still keeps track of the balance, but the system tells her that she is in need of a little cash.

Could the capabilities of Finance Center FCU help you and your student get ready for a new stage in your life? Our products and services eliminate the problems of a long-distance relationship.

Is your high school student already managing a checking account? Have you considered a student checking account at Finance Center FCU?

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