Plan for Financial Success

In this section, find tips for budgeting and setting financial goals. You can also visit the Financial Aid and Bursar pages for more detailed information, including loans and payment methods.

Financial Wellness

Set Goals

Setting financial goals allows you to realistically plan for future purchases without exceeding your budget. Follow some of these tips to reach your short- or long-term financial goals:

  • Write down the financial goals you want to reach.
  • Display your goals in an area where you will see them everyday. Writing your goals on a mirror, setting them as your wallpaper on your computer screen, or posting them on your bedroom door are all great ways to ensure that you will see them everyday.
  • Start with specific short-term goals. This is something you want to do in the near future.
  • Designate “no spend days”.
  • Make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be S.M.A.R.T.:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time based
  • Access iGrad - This customized personal finance program is open to all students, faculty, staff, and alumni. When you sign up, you will be given a financial wellness checkup. This determines what content is provided to you. You can do the financial checkup as many times as you want.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Goals

Short-term goals could be figuring out student loan repayment or committing to only purchasing three coffee drinks a week rather than five to save on money.

Long-term goals might consist of saving money for a payment on a new car or a big vacation you are going on in a year or two.

Ask yourself:
  • Is it necessary to accept the full amount that is offered?
  • When does the repayment period begin?
  • Can I come up with some of the money another way?
  • What is my interest rate going to be? What is a good interest rate for this loan?
  • How long will it take to repay this loan?


A budget helps you form good financial habits and develop an awareness of your spending. Having a budget can help reduce anxiety related to finances and school, meet short- and long-term financial goals, and develop a sense of control over your money. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.

  1. First, list your net monthly income sources (work, student aid refund, family support)
  2. Next, calculate and list how much you need to put away for savings.
  3. Next, list your fixed expenses (costs that stay the same every month)
  4. List your variable expenses (costs that change every month)
  5. Lastly, subtract your savings, fixed, and variable expenses from your total net monthly income sources to determine if you need to reduce spending or can increase savings.

If you receive a student financial aid refund at the beginning of each term, try paying off your rent for that entire term in advance.

Use cash for purchases, try to minimize using your debit card.

Start SAVING! Establish an amount that you want to put away in savings each month, and make a commitment to not transfer this money.

Avoid ATM fees, they add up.

Keeping track of how you spend your money is one of the best ways to get a handle on your cash flow and ensure that you are meeting your money goals. There are a wide variety of mobile apps available today that can allow you to conveniently and easily track your spending habits and keep you from making poor decisions.

While many apps available are free, some charge for premium tools so which one you select will be a personal decision. Most of the apps will track your spending by connecting to an existing bank account or credit account. If you’d rather not allow the app to connect to your personal information you may find ones that let you input the information manually but be diligent in your tracking.

Do your research, shop around and find the mobile spending app that will work best for your personality and financial goals. Whether you are looking for warning notifications if you are spending too much, or want to ensure you have enough money to spend in a certain category beforehand, there’s an app for that.

O*Net OnLine is an outstanding source for occupational profiles.

The O*NET Program is the nation's primary source of occupational information. Valid data are essential to understanding the rapidly changing nature of work and how it impacts the workforce and U.S. economy. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors on almost 1,000 occupations covering the entire U.S. economy. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated from input by a broad range of workers in each occupation.

Search this database using the official job code associated with your program of study:

  • 29-1171.00 Nurse Practitioner
  • 29-1122.00 Occupational Therapist
  • 29-1123.00 Physical Therapist
  • 29-1071.00 Physician Assistant
  • 29-1111.00 Registered Nurse
  • 29-1127.00 Speech-Language Pathologist