Photo courtesy of Cameron Tolbert

Dr. Sandra Chincholkar, professor in the math department, advises students on how to balance their budgets to include student loans in the future.

 

October 26, 2015

University workshop series teaches students how to balance budgets

By Sara Liptak

Balancing a budget in college can be a struggle for students. The Mareyjoyce Green Women’s Center at Cleveland State University, which strives for student success through education and support services, offers financial fitness classes to help students invest in their future.

Dr. Sandra Chincholkar, professor in the Math department at Cleveland State, kicked off a three-session series focused on budgeting beginning Thursday, Oct. 8 in The Women’s Center. The first session was titled “Basics of ‘Budgeting/How-to,’” where those in attendance learned about building a budget.

The second session, titled “Working Through Your Budget,” held Thursday, Oct. 15, addressed personalizing a budget for a student’s financial situations.

“The big steps to controlling your finances are knowing your bank balance, know what you’re spending, where you’re spending it, and keeping track of debit and credit card spending,” Chincholkar said.

According to Chincholkar, student loan refunds become part of the income that students live off and — with it being the middle of the semester — students who received a refund from the school may or may not have any of that money left. Chincholkar broke down an average student’s budget and explained the best way to control it using an Excel spread sheet she created.

Freshman students Samia Shaheen and Andrew Sahlani attended the second session on Oct. 15 as a requirement for ASC 101, Intro to University Life. In ASC 101, it is mandatory for all freshmen to take classes and seminars at Cleveland State to learn about the services the college has to offer.

“I think the session was really good and informative,” Shaheen said. “We’re what, eight weeks into the semester and I’ve spent so much money so far.

This class opened my eyes to saving money and how a little bit can go a long way — I’m definitely spending way too much.”

Sahlani’s parents pay for most of his expenses, such as his car, insurance and gas.

“We eat out a lot with [friends] so even though most of my things get paid for, I still need to budget better,” said Sahlani. “It’s pretty much just on me to work and pay for clothes if I want, but I’m spending too much.”

The guilt of spending your own personal money can become a crucial factor when learning about budgeting, which is exactly how Shaheen said she feels.
“I needed to hear it,” Shaheen said. “I do feel guilty about all [the money] I’ve spent recently, but I needed to hear it.”

Chincholkar suggested that students consider doing a work-study program while being in college.

“Doing a work-study reduces your commute time from school to your job,” Chincholkar said. “Running out of class very quickly, driving across town and punching the clock on time is not convenient for students.

The people who’d you work for at the college understand that education comes first. They will try to work with you and if you have down time, they let you study.”

The final session of the three financial fitness classes, “The Real Cost of Student Loans,” will be held on Thursday, Nov. 5 at the Women’s Center. Chincholkar will be teaching it.

Shaheen and Sahlani both have another ASC 101 event to attend on Nov. 5, but if they didn’t, both of them would be in attendance for the last seminar.

“I would most definitely come if I could,” Shaheen said. “Student loans are a big thing that we all need to know about and I think a lot of us are really under informed up until they charge us. And then everyone’s running into the financial aid office like what did I do, what do I do?”

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