Tips | September 10, 2015

“Not all debts are equal” - and three more money tips for university students

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

These words, attributed to former Harvard University president Derek Bok, sum up a view that education has many sorts of value.


But as the academic year gets underway in the Northern Hemisphere, it can pay to look at ways students can intelligently look at money as well.

1. Not all debts are equal If taking out a loan, remember to read the fine print. They might have different costs, repayment rules and other terms and conditions. This tip is included in the UK’s MoneySavingExpert Student Guide, which writes: “Some debts, like student loans, are much better than others. Be very careful taking any other form of borrowing.”

2. Not all costs are equal The price of a €3.50 coffee is the same for everyone but the cost can vary. That’s according to the Money After Graduation blog, which states the cost for a low earner is effectively greater (as a proportion of disposable income) than the cost to someone earning much more. The blog post goes a step further and highlights opportunity costs of choices and the potential returns if money spent on a daily caffeine habit was invested.

3. Is there a better deal elsewhere? Tuition fees are typically higher in some countries than in others, UK newspaper The Guardian suggests in an article that Brits consider pursuing higher education in Europe. Living costs also vary – with capital cities such as London and Paris known for high costs. Many factors are weighed when choosing where to study and location might make more of a difference than is first apparent.

4. Cheerfulness pays dividends If college is a happy time in your life, you might have an extra reason to smile. Barking Up the Wrong Tree blogs that a higher “cheerfulness rating” when starting university appears to be correlated with higher earnings later in life, citing a study that tracked almost 14,000 students for about 20 years.

Five more tips – and suggest your own
The eZonomics archive has more articles with money tips for college students, including this one that suggests job hunting from day one, using a cash-only diet on nights out and having a plan up front to deal with any debt taken on. If you would like to share student money tips, send them here or Tweet to @eZonomics.

eZonomics team
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