Students learn to balance funds in college

It is sometimes believed that students who receive monetary assistance from their parents are better off than those who fend for themselves, but some financially independent students feel otherwise.

Shelley Dickson, a 20-year-old industrial engineering student from Miami, is one of the University’s students who support themselves financially. “Not receiving money from my parents definitely helped me become more independent,” she said.

Dickson said that although she feels she may be more financially stable than her friends, she envies their ability to splurge. “My mom is deceased, and my dad doesn’t help like he should,” she said. “So at this point in my life, I’m learning the bigger lesson.”

Taking care of her bills, including rent, phone bills, car insurance and light bills, forces her to maintain balanced but responsible spending habits.

Since she has had the stress of providing for herself since high school, the junior feels she can certainly handle college without financial support.

While some students are forced to manage their financial situations themselves, others are able to depend on their parents for money.

“If my parents didn’t help me as much as they do, I wouldn’t be able to get my hair done, do freshmen activities, such as clubbing and on-campus activities,” Rhakeeda Williams, 18, said.

The extra money also supplies Williams gas money when she goes on off-campus trips.

Williams, a nursing student from Miami, said although her parents give her money, it is important that she handle her own expenses as well.

“My parents are willing to help me when I need it, but I try to hold my own ground.” She said she enjoys off-campus activities, and that motivates her to save for extracurricular activities.

Forrest Jenkins, an 18-year-old freshman business administration student from Houston, believes financial responsibility depends on the student.

“If students receive money from their parents and use it towards education, then accepting money from them isn’t an issue,” he said. “But if students neglect the funds given to them, in time they will not grow as a person.”

Jenkins, a resident of Gibbs Hall, doesn’t receive money from his parents at all. Because of his scholarship, he has few financial worries.

“I’m fortunate to have a full ride,” Jenkins said. “I worked hard to get the scholarship so I wouldn’t have to depend on my parents for money. It makes me more independent.”

For Jenkins, financial independence has minor disadvantages, such as the inability to splurge on tennis equipment and extra snacks for his dorm room.

“I’m responsible by nature, so I just suck up the splurging adjustments.”

For some students relying on scholarships, not being able to ask parents for money can sometimes be a difficult feat.

Ernest Williams, a 21-year-old senior criminal justice student from Tallahassee, has lived off campus for two years and is learning how to manage life without his mother.

“It was more comfortable, financial wise, staying at home since I’m from Tallahassee, but I am surviving.”

Currently living on his own, Williams is utilizing his football scholarship and the rest of his aide to manage his bills.

“I still need help to stay afloat, so my mom is there when I need extra money,” Williams said.

Anticipating to never solely rely on his mother again, Williams keeps his mind set on becoming more independent in the future.