A Student’s Guide to Navigating Financial Stress

College student sitting at desk

College is a time for learning, networking, and personal growth. However, you’re also taking on some hefty loans as a student.

This can cause severe financial stress if you don’t learn how to manage your bills correctly. Left unchecked, this kind of stress can even impede your class progress and undermine your ability to learn. 

Manage your stress and make your time in college a success by reducing your costs and rethinking debt. This will motivate you to succeed in difficult classes and help you focus on getting the most from every semester. 

Understanding Stress

Long-term financial stress can undermine your performance in class and detract from your enjoyment of college. Left unaddressed, chronic stress can cause health problems like:

  • Unwanted weight gain
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Anxiety and depression 
  • Insomnia

These health problems can impede your progress and make studying all but impossible. They can heighten your financial stress and cause a cycle of high stress, failed classes, and increased debt. Take a proactive approach to managing your stress by:

  • Getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep
  • Exercising a few times per week 
  • Drinking fewer caffeinated beverages
  • Taking a break outside 

Managing your financial stress is key to performing well in class and keeping your costs low. Getting enough sleep, exercising, and taking breaks can improve your grades and ensure you don’t have to repeat classes you’ve already paid for once. 

Accepting Debt

College credits are expensive. No matter where you go to school, you’re likely to be stuck with loans that will take years, if not decades, to repay. Understanding this reality is key if you want to manage your financial stress. 

Accepting the reality of university fees is particularly important now, as college has become more expensive. Interest rates have increased in response to the tough economic climate, meaning you could pay up to $500 more interest over a 10-year period than you would have if enrolled in 2022. 

Rather than fretting about repaying loans in years to come, see college as an investment, as education will increase your earnings throughout your lifetime. 

This is confirmed by the Social Security Administration, which states that men with a bachelors earn $900,000 more than their peers while women with a bachelors earn $650,000 more over their lifetime. Keep this in mind when paying back your loan, as it can serve as an essential reminder of the value of a college education. 

Controlling Your Finances 

Minimizing your costs while in college is a great way to navigate financial stress and reduce your repayments down the road. Take control of your finances today by avoiding non-college-related debt when possible and setting aside any spare funds for savings. 

If possible, consider picking up a side hustle during the summer. This won’t come close to covering the cost of college, but it can reduce the amount you must take out for cost-of-living loans. In time, this can make a big difference, as you want to minimize the interest you have yet to pay. 

If you find that financial worries are still causing you concern, book an appointment with your university’s financial advisor. They’ll be able to suggest adjustments and help you take control of your finances. 


Minimize your financial stress in college by minimizing your costs and avoiding additional loans. Instead of fretting about fees, focus on performing to the best of your abilities by getting enough sleep, exercising, and taking breaks. This will improve your performance and ensure you don’t have to pay to retake any credits.

Author: Same Bowman