UIUC Student Financial Testimonials

"I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2010. My financial success is that I have no credit cards. My failure is that I have a hard time saving money, because of shopping. Also I have loan debt due to college."

- Shaunte`e Randle, UIUC, May 2010

"A failure I experienced during my freshman year was simply a lack of budgeting. I had no job and no extra money coming in, and I still didn't pay attention to how much I was spending. I ended up overdrawing from my checking account. After that experience, I took more interest in all of my accounts, and paid attention to where my money was going. I also got a job, and worked for the rest of my time in college. Something that has been a real benefit to me is the fact that I avoided opening store credit cards - in fact, the first credit card I opened in my name was opened after I graduated."

- Sarah Dickson, UIUC, May 2010

"Financial Success: Receiving a $1200 refund check and being able to independently budget it. Spent it on two months' rent and books"

-Dan Brumbach, UIUC, May 2010

"I found scholarships to fund my education completely for school. But then I lost some of my scholarships sophomore year because of my grades. I was able to get them back my junior year and kept them until I graduated. I even paid off the Perkins loan I received during the sophomore year I lost some of my funding. I have 3 credit cards all in good standing, and only 1 even has a balance. I found that I spent a lot of money on shoes (Jordan's) my freshman and sophomore year. I wanted to look nice but found that shoes/clothes are a bad investment unless they are more business casual. Other than that I pretty much make sure I handle my finances correctly."

- Donald Banks, UIUC, December 2009

"One of my failures has been falling for credit cards. I remember turning 18 and having numerous credit card advertisements sent to my house and being excited that I was being offered them. I ended up falling for the Discover Card advertisement and applying for the card online. My application was accepted and I received my new shiny credit card in the mail a couple weeks later. In less than 6 months I had nearly maxed out my first credit card and was only making payments that were a little more than the minimum. When I started college and took my first finance class where I learned the concept of interest and principal, I immediately noticed my mistakes. I got a job the next semester and made a plan to pay off my entire balance in the next few months. I followed through and ended up cancelling my credit card. Since then I have reopened the card but have become a much more responsible spender. Had I received the financial education early on before I applied for my first credit card I would have made smarter decisions with my credit cards."

- Yazmin Norwood, UIUC, May 2010

"My greatest financial failure was not applying for outside scholarships to help fund my education. I primarily took out student loans which has resulted in my current debt. Additionally, I do wish I had attempted to balance a simple part-time job in order to cover personal expenses. I also wish I would have thought twice before accepting the full loan amounts. It would have been better self-discipline to have limited, or budgeted, my expenses, including being more financially practical when choosing an apartment."

- Krystina Briones, UIUC, May 2010

"As an incoming freshman at UIUC, my initial EFC was about $4000. After speaking with Financial Aid counselors and getting the proper help with my FAFSA, my EFC dropped to $0 by my sophomore year. Being that I was living in the dorms, I didn't receive my first refund check until my junior year. I tried to be very responsible with my money and apply it directly to my expenses. I would pay a large sum to my rental agency at the beginning of the semester that would cover the next 4-5 months. However, there were times that I still had an excess and would spend it on insignificant things, rather than saving it or paying some of the loans I had taken out, which is something that I now regret."

- Danah McAlpin, UIUC, December 2009