4 Steps to Financially Prepare Your Student for College

Talk about finances now, but know when to let your child slip up.

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4. Utilize web resources: Though releasing the tether from your soon-to-be college student may still be a terrifying thought, rest assured that neither you nor your student needs to tackle the upcoming challenges alone. With the help of the Internet, students have financial management resources at their fingertips. Check out Mint.com for help with your budget, recommends Katherine Cohen, founder of Ivywise.com; explore the government-run MyMoney.gov for advice on making informed financial decisions; or see if your school has a virtual financial literacy program that makes money issues fun and understandable, such as the program Schantz is currently implementing at Wittenberg University. 

[Find out more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.] 

And if it gets tough making the shift from "daily parent to occasional coach," as Grinnell's Dougharty puts it, keep in mind that, after years of personal training within your family unit, allowing your student some leeway is a healthy route to tackling problems in school and beyond. 

"Money management, conserving, saving for what you need, and tracking your expenses are parts of what any adult needs to be successful, let alone a college student," counselor Weichman says. "Parents are teaching their kids not just how to deal with college, but how to deal with life." 

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