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Financial Skills for the College Years


A college education is among the most expensive purchases a family will make. For some families, paying for children’s college expenses could be comparable to the cost of a house. Parents want their sons and daughters to make the most of this investment, and that includes ensuring that their student views education as a personal responsibility and is mindful of the impact of his or her financial decisions on the family’s investment.

Students receive an array of messages related to college finance--about credit and debit cards, spending, budgeting, and debt. These messages come from family, from the media, from popular culture, from their college, and from their friends. Research shows, though, when parents practice responsible financial behaviors, their children are more likely to spend responsibly at school, while students whose parents model poor financial behaviors are likely to adapt poor financial practices. Our goal with this program is to provide accurate and timely information to families, so that students will receive messages from home to help them make thoughtful and responsible decisions when it comes to managing their own finances.

We know that it can be difficult for family members to talk with their students about sensitive subjects, and money can be an especially difficult topic. This website includes talking points for discussions about finances, including information from students and parents about how they have successfully navigated money management during the college years.

The University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science have partnered to bring you Financial Skills for the College Years.

About Financial Skills for the College Years

The purpose of this website is to present parents with a realistic picture of the issues and challenges college students and their families will face around finances. The material addresses the following financial topics: