Besides time management, one of the toughest things to master are issues surrounding money and how to be in control of your finances. Financial literacy and wellness are important to our students and WSU has created Coug Money Matters to address these topics. The program is designed to help students be better stewards of their finances. From creating a spending plan to savings and goal setting to paying back student loans, Coug Money Matters provides resources to students. There are online tools as well as opportunities to learn from face-to-face sessions.

Coug Money Matters will be hosting a financial wellness fair on April 9 in the CUB Junior Ballroom on the Pullman campus.  This kick-off to financial literacy month provides students the opportunity to meet with experts in a number of areas related to finances, as well as listen to our guest speaker, Jed Collins (former NFL player turned financial expert).

When determining a student’s costs associated with attending WSU and the options, a few things should be considered:

Determine what your direct and indirect costs are:

  • Direct costs are those that are billed by and payable to WSU (tuition and fees, room and board, etc.)
  • Indirect costs are those that are not billed by and payable WSU, like transportation or books (these are still real expenses, but they may not be billed from WSU)
  • Students receiving financial aid are given a cost of attendance when awarded aid. This is WSU’s estimate of what it will cost to attend for a year. Reviewing the cost of attendance is a good starting place to help determine direct and indirect costs. A general cost of attendance can also be found on our website.

Determine what your student’s out-of-pocket costs are and how to pay for them:

  • Determine what your student’s direct and indirect costs are (as mentioned above)
  • Determine what free or gift aid your student has to offset those costs (scholarships, grants, etc….)
  • The difference is your student’s out-of-pocket cost. You then can see what self-help aid is available (student loans, work programs, etc.). Even if you or your student are paying your student’s out-of-pocket costs with a loan, you (or your student) are still paying that cost

Be aware of what type of financial aid your student has:

  • Your financial aid may be made up of scholarships, grants, and loans
  • It is important to know what your student has and how much
  • Most scholarships and grants will have renewal criteria of which the student should be aware
  • Federal or state grants will also have renewal criteria, including need components that are determined each year
  • Federal student loans will have their own set of interest and fees that students should be fully aware of before accepting
  • Parent loans (called Parent PLUS) will require a credit check for parents (this is not required for federal loans that the student may qualify for)
  • Students and parents should be aware of what the repayment requirements and options are on any loan

Reapply for financial aid each year:

  • This includes the FAFSA/WASFA application, the WSU general scholarship application, and potentially other scholarship applications
  • The FAFSA/WASFA application opens on October 1 for the next academic year
  • WSU has a great scholarship search tool that can help your student find additional scholarships

Monitor student loans received:

  • WSU has a lifetime aid summary available to students. It shows what student loans they have taken out at WSU, what percentage of their lifetime limit they have used, and what their estimated payments are based on their current borrowing
  • This is only available after they have some loan history at WSU
  • This can help when making decisions about future borrowing
  • Students can access their lifetime aid summary through their myWSU portal

Know your options:

  • Semester tuition and fees are due at the beginning of each term
  • Residence hall charges are automatically assigned to a payment plan for the term
  • Students (or parents) may wish to make payments for the portion that is on a payment plan instead of taking out loans (or a combination of payments and less loan)