Financial Topics

Financial topics can range in complexity from simple budgeting and saving to investing and accounting. Differences in individual lifestyles and stages of life can dictate what financial topics are most pertinent to a specific student’s needs.

Some of these topics have easy definitions; some are more complicated. Below are definitions for some basic financial topics that we have dedicated pages to explain in greater detail:

Banking – Banking is more than just a simple definition. It involves the many transactions you can do with a financial institution. Whether it is opening a savings account or depositing a check, banking covers it.

Budgeting – the act of planning one’s spending based on the estimated costs of a person’s needs; a budget or “spending plan” is the physical representation of one’s plan of action as it refers to expected (and even unexpected) expenses.

Saving – the act of setting aside a specified amount of money for a particular purpose (e.g., emergencies, a new car, text books, video game, etc.); a reduction in expenses or the cost of an item (e.g., saving money on groceries); can also refer to paying a lower amount for items, services or food (e.g., “I saved $2.00 on my coffee this morning by using a coupon.”).

Credit – refers to a person’s ability to obtain goods or services without the cash assets to trade for them; it is often based on the person’s previous history with repayment and one’s expected or potential income; note: student loans and credit cards are both forms of credit.

Fraud – students are often the target of many identity thefts and fraud in the US today for many reasons.  Learning how to identify what different types of fraud look like and how to protect yourself is crucial to staying financially secure both in college and out.

Financial Aid – students can obtain a multitude of financial assistance options from government, corporate and private entities to pay for school. The largest of these is the federal government who provides student loans and grants, but you can also qualify for scholarships from organizations and individuals if you meet the necessary requirements.

Student Loans – a student loan is a special type of credit only available to those attending a college, technical school or university and can only be used to pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies and living expenses. In the US, there are multiple types of student loans, but you must, as a US citizen, complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) before applying to third party student loans.

Grants – are considered “free money” from the government for educational expenses since it does not need to be repaid, although there are certain requirements for keeping certain grants like Satisfactory Academic Progress and minimum enrollment qualifications.

Scholarships – also a form of “free money” from organizations and individuals that often require the awardee to be part of a certain group, maintain certain academic standing, or other requirements like applications or records of achievement

Taxes – a sum of money paid to the government for its support or facilities and services that are required by the body of individuals it serves; the IRS is the US government agency responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations regarding the payment of taxes.

Have a suggestion for a topic?  Send us an email at studentmoney@uillinois.edu!