It can be difficult navigating your way through all of the tasks and responsibilities associated with attending college. From choosing the right school and filling out financial aid forms to repaying student loans and buying that first vehicle or home after graduation, these choices can become overwhelming at times. But GCU is here to help!

Below you will find some useful information and links to websites to help educate and guide you through the many different phases of college life and beyond. Your success is important and we want to do anything we can to help you get there!

 

Before College


Need help paying the costs associated with attending college? There are many resources available to assist you in making the right decisions.

· Federal Student Aid 

The U.S. Department of Education provides information about what types of federal aid could be available to you, eligibility requirements, how to apply, and can help find the right college for you.

· FAFSA

Already familiar with your federal student aid options? FAFSA’s website can help you fast track application process or re-filing if you are a returning student.

· FinAid

Free for all users and offers comprehensive and objective information, advice, and tools about financial aid.

If borrowing money to pay for college isn’t the best choice for you, there are other options available to help cover educational expenses. There are many scholarships and grants available, and these sites can help make searching and applying for them quick and easy. Also be sure to check with your school advisor to learn more about what may be offered to you.

· Fastweb

Run a free search to find scholarships you qualify for! Fastweb can match you to scholarships from their database of 1.5 million, based on your personal profile.

· Scholarships.com

This is a simple, free way to find and apply for scholarships and grants which is widely recognized and trusted nationwide.


Saving

Saving for college is always a good decision. You can avoid the hassle of applying for student aid and paying back loans after graduation. If there are no scholarships or grants available to use, putting some money aside early on for school costs can be just as helpful. And it’s never too early to start saving for college!

529 College Savings Plans or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts are accounts designed to help families save for higher education costs, and offer tax-free savings as well as other possible tax benefits. These may be a good alternative to just a regular savings or custodial account.

Set up a meeting with GCU’s financial advisor to learn more about the investment options available to you or your child to help save for college and get on the right path today! Also be sure to use GCU’s college savings plan calculator to help develop an education savings plan.

 

Budgeting

Developing a proper budget before attending college is crucial for many students. Sometimes your funds seem to run out very quickly, and you are left making sacrifices that may have been avoidable.

Sitting down and creating a budget can help prioritize expenses. This way, you can identify what’s most important to your particular situation and ensure that you provide enough money for those critical items. Try to determine your "needs" compared to your "wants," and focus more on the list of things you absolutely need. It is also a good idea to prepare for any unexpected costs you may encounter, and set a little aside for those if you are able to.

Keep your budget organized and update it as your college career progresses. After all, there is no point in creating a budget if you are not going to stick with it!

There are many budgeting tools and apps out there, many of which are free to use and don’t require any registration or fees, such as GCU’s Student Budget Calculator.

 

 During College


There is a lot to focus on while attending college. Studying and getting good grades are always important. College life can be full of stress and hard work, but also can be very rewarding and provide opportunities as well. There are many other things to consider or do to ensure your continued success as you move forward.

 

Establishing Credit

Credit is more important than ever nowadays and is needed to get the most favorable terms when purchasing a vehicle or home or to even get a personal loan. It is usually a good idea to look into getting a credit card or two to help establish or build credit. There are many low credit limit options out there for first-time card holders and students. Many of them also offer rewards for using the card to make everyday purchases.

To learn more about the importance of good credit and what you can do to start building yours, check out our Establishing Credit section on our Financial Tips and Tricks page.

GCU also has credit card options available to help start building your credit footprint. Apply today to see how we may be able to help!

 

Getting Involved

Think about joining a club or student organization if your college offers them. There are several benefits to doing this, and it can provide you with good team working and leadership skills. This article written by Jane Hurst, who is a dedicated teacher for over 5 years, provides some details about the possible extra benefits you can receive by getting involved on your campus.

 

Student Aid

Remember to update and re-submit your FAFSA forms if you are using federal student aid. There are federal and state deadlines and your college may also have deadlines as well.

 

Employment

There are lots of reasons to get a job while you are attending college. Sometimes, student aid does not quite cover all of your expenses depending on your situation, and you need some extra funds to get by more comfortably. Finding a part-time or full-time job can help put some cash in your pocket now and relieve a little financial stress.

Be sure to check out any employment opportunities your school may offer or with nearby businesses that you can easily commute to.

 After College


Just graduated? All of that hard work and dedication have finally paid off, and you are ready to take the next steps. There may be a lot of choices ahead as you move forward with life, and many of them could be more important than you realize.

· Looking to purchase your first vehicle or home? GCU’s competitive consumer and mortgage lending rates can help you get one step closer. Apply today!

· We also offer insurance coverage through MetLife for your home or auto. Accidents can happen at any time; make sure you are properly covered and don’t get stuck paying the costs of repairs or replacements. Click here for more info.

· As you start down your chosen career path or just your first job after graduation, you may want to consider saving for your retirement. GCU offers Traditional and Roth IRAs as well as other investment services and accounts which are provided through our financial advisor. Contact us or stop in a branch today to learn more and start planning for your future!

· Is your student loan deferment over? Be sure to check with your financial aid borrower to see what options are available for loan consolidation. Consolidating your student loans can lower interest costs and make things easier to keep track of.

· Interested in starting a career at GCU? Learn more about GCU’s available employment opportunities on our careers page.