When the refund check drops you instantly go from feeling like Felicia on Friday to waking up like Beyonce. The student loan Gawds have reigned their blessings down upon you and suddenly going to college reaps it’s instant perks. You’ll have enough money to buy books, pay your rent, and finally cash out on that Peruvian hair you’ve been eyeing for months. But not so fast! Let me remind you that a refund check is leftover cash from your financial aid after schools deduct tuition and other academic fees. What this translates to in layman terms is that this magical money is far from free, you will be paying it back eventually – with interest. If you were expecting a refund check, but it never processed, there are several factors that may have caused the issue. You didn’t submit your FAFSA on time, or maybe you did submit them on-time but you made a mistake on the forms. Next semester, be sure to submit all of your financial aid information accurately and on-time.
But for those of you who hold the golden ticket, let’s just keep a few things in mind…
1. Be Wise With Your Refund Check
Nothing in life is free. Refund checks can be very helpful for students who do not have financial support from family especially when school books are priced almost the same as a kidney. Rent, gas and food can be budgeted for the semester as well. If you have financial responsibilities, put them at the top of your list of priorities before you start cashin’ out.
2. Open a Savings Account
Refund Checks are great for reaching your savings goals. If you don’t already have a savings account, this is a great time to set one up. Save for a rainy day, and save for future emergency funds. Refund checks are usually a pretty large amount, and putting it away in a different account than your checking account will keep you from spending it.
3. Return to Sender
You actually have the option to return the left-over funds to the loaner. If you don’t really need it, why take it? Less debt the better, everyone’s circumstances are different but be sure to think about what’s best for you and your post-grad finances. You can also return a portion if you don’t want to keep the full amount.
4. Don’t Forget About Yourself
In the words of Bryson Tiller, “Shawty you deserve what you been missin’…” Spoil yourself at least one time! There’s nothing wrong with finally getting that one item you’ve been non-stop pinning on Pinterest. This will also set the tone of a successful semester, when you feel good, you’ll do good.