Investing for College Students

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Investing feels out of reach for many college students, but even small, low-risk investments can help build a foundation for a stable financial future. This guide offers an overview of how to invest after college, including practical investment strategies for beginners and students with limited financial resources.

What Is Investing?



Investing refers broadly to the act of allocating money with the expectation of returning a profit. Investments differ from financial sources like student loans, which provide funding that students must repay.

Long-term investment methods, such as 401(k) pension plans and IRAs, typically serve established workers. However, other investments, like stocks and bonds, offer practical inroads for beginning investors. Micro-investment apps, like Acorns and Robinhood, enable college students to invest small amounts of money and begin to build an investment portfolio.

Students can also benefit from high-interest savings accounts to build their finances while in school. Careful budgeting can help even those with low income levels save money for future investments.

College as an Investment

College is an investment since degrees often lead to higher salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that bachelor’s degree-holders earn an average of $468 more per week than workers with just a high school diploma. Attending college also provides networking and professional experience opportunities, which can help students secure positions after graduation.

When considering college programs, students should consider the potential return on investment over the course of their entire career.

Investing Before College



This list highlights three resources to help students and families understand college costs and how to save for them.

illustration of boy inserting money into piggy bank

Saving for Your Child’s College Education

For many families, saving for college begins during childhood or before the birth of a child. This guide offers practical strategies to save for future college expenses, including a breakdown of common savings methods.

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How Much Does Online College Cost?

Our guide to online college expenses breaks down the cost of online education compared to on-campus education. It also features information on general expenses for distance students, such as technology fees, textbooks, registration costs, and exam proctoring.

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Financial Aid for Online Colleges

This guide offers an overview of financial aid options for online students, including state and federal aid, scholarships, loans, and employer assistance. It also provides information on completing the FAFSA to obtain student aid.

Investing While in College



Students often can’t make major investments while still in college, but smart budgeting and proper tax filing can help you build financial security for the future. This list highlights three resources to help you invest while earning your degree.

illustration of graduation cap on top of stack of coins

Saving for Graduate School as an Undergraduate

Students often enter graduate school immediately after completing their bachelor’s degree. Our guide to saving for grad school offers information to help you save for an advanced degree, including budgeting methods and strategies to identify fellowships and graduate assistantships.

illustration of graduation cap on top of stack of coins

Student Tax Guide

Students typically don’t pay much in income taxes, but filing a return may still seem intimidating. Our guide to student taxes provides information on different tax forms, including 1098-T and 1098-E forms. You’ll also find information on student tax benefits, such as the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

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Retirement Plans Explained: Which Type is Right for You?

Students often enter graduate school immediately after completing their bachelor’s degree. Our guide to saving for grad school offers information to help you save for an advanced degree, including budgeting methods and strategies to identify fellowships and graduate assistantships.

Investing After College



After completing a degree, students can access more investment opportunities to strengthen their financial future. This list highlights three resources detailing how to invest after college.

illustration of money and hourglass

How to Start Investing After College

Our guide to investing after college highlights the various ways students can begin saving before and after they graduate. This overview covers common retirement investments and investment strategies.

illustration of a man taking money out of ATM

What Happens When You Pull Money Out of A Retirement Account?

People may need to take money out of a retirement account for various reasons. This guide offers an overview of common reasons to withdraw money from retirement accounts, typical penalties for withdrawal, and alternatives to consider before withdrawing from a retirement account.

illustration of man and woman holding coins behind a piggy bank

The Best Investment Order

Investing presents a variety of opportunities and pitfalls for college graduates. Our guide to investment strategies offers an overview of common investments that typically yield the greatest financial gains. It also covers strategies for prioritizing investments to generate effective returns and grow your wealth.

Other Resources

illustration of credit card with three coins falling into it

A Guide to Credit Cards for College Students

A credit card can help you cover expenses while building your credit history. Our guide explains how credit works and how to boost your approval odds for entry-level credit cards.

illustration of book

Financial Terms Glossary for College Students

Our financial glossary outlines and defines the key terms related to financial aid, credit, and taxes. Covering tax forms, credit scores, and a variety of other common concepts, the glossary helps demystify financial jargon.

illustration of woman with questions sitting at desk in front of computer

Common Financial Misconceptions

Our guide to common financial misconceptions debunks misinformation related to tuition, scholarships, credit cards, and other financial topics.

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