Why You Should Visit the Office of Financial Education

Five questions for Office of Financial Education director Natasha Bean about how to financially prepare for college and beyond

Financial education, sometimes called financial literacy or financial wellness, is about more than learning how to create a budget. It’s about understanding credit scores, student loans, interest rates, and most importantly, what it will cost you and your family to attend not just NYU, but any college.

We asked Natasha Bean, head of NYU Financial Education, to answer five questions about what her office does and how prospective—and current—students can take advantage of this valuable source of information and advice.

Woman pulling money out of a wallet.

What is the NYU Office of Financial Education and what does it do?

We help prospective students and their families understand the cost commitment of NYU, whether or not they apply for financial aid, and how to plan for that commitment. We understand that during this pandemic finances may have changed for families and we look at the options they have in terms of their current finances to help them plan for college expenses. Also, we answer questions about what they could do to qualify for outside scholarships, how to search for those scholarship funds, and explain different public service loan-forgiveness programs that students may qualify for in the future.

What other types of information does your
office supply?

We give students a broader understanding of critical financial skills, such as explaining interest rates on student loans, discussing use of credit cards, how to understand their credit scores, and living as a student. We assist students with creating financial plans and looking at costs throughout their years at NYU to make sure they have a plan.

What is the most important thing for students to know about financing their education at NYU?

Students should know that financing their NYU education is not a one year commitment. We want our students to be successful academically and financially from day one, therefore having an effective financing plan in the beginning is key to success. We want them to know that many of our students receive some form of financial assistance to help pay for their NYU education, whether it be federal aid, scholarships, or loans. NYU Financial Education helps them understand the different aspects of these financing methods.

What can students do to prepare themselves financially for college?

There are a few things students can do to financially prepare themselves now. First, have a conversation with your parents or support network about the financial capability of paying for college. What resources are available to them? Have they made a financing plan?

Prior to coming here, students should weigh their college options, and our office created a module, Understanding the Cost of Financing College, to help them look at their financing options. This is an interactive course that will teach them everything they need to know to make sound financial decisions when choosing a school. They and their parents can also log on to our free iGrad platform, a money management tool that explains financial terms, interest rates, PLUS loans, cost of attendance, and many other financial items.

Finally, students should start and continue to look for scholarships from other sources as early as possible (so today!). There are many free resources that they can access to help pay for their college expenses—so a helpful reminder is never pay for a scholarship service!

Piggy bank on a table with coins next to it.

What are some questions you wish students
would ask?

We wish students and families would have an open, honest discussion about their finances before students start their college search. This way, students will be better prepared with an understanding of what their family can afford and what their expectations are as a student.

We know that money can be a touchy subject, but students need to be aware of what their parents and/or support system can potentially contribute to their education. With an understanding of their family’s overall financial picture, they can have smart, realistic financial expectations for their success at NYU.

We also want students to ask the Financial Aid Office about the renewability of their financial aid offers—what do they need to do to keep this award and what could they do to get more. Knowing this information helps with planning for their future years.

Finally, we know emergencies can happen or students may need to take time off within their academic career. Ask what happens to your aid, tuition, and payments during this time. Again, knowing this information up front can help with your plans throughout your time at college.

For more information and to speak to a financial education coach, go to the NYU Financial Education web page. Follow their social media platforms where they offer tips and videos about financial literacy!