Higher education institutions in California have established statewide programs to provide resources for undocumented students. These programs offer support for applying to the California Dream Act, AB 540 information, scholarships and even more. The type of resources these programs provide varies widely across campuses and it can be different within the same segment of higher education. Some California campuses have physical centers while others don’t. The center or programs do not necessarily need to have the word “undocumented” in its name, you can also look for dreamers, dream or multicultural. Use this interactive map to learn about resources at each California campus.
Everyone says that starting college is a very exciting part of your life but no one really talks about the stress that comes with preparing for college. There are things you need to figure out such as: will you be living on campus or with family? How will you get to and from school? When thinking of commuting you need to take in consideration a checklist that would make your commuting experience more enjoyable. Here are some tips to make your commute easier:
Whether you are commuting by public transportation or by your own vehicle, one of the most important things is staying safe. Sometimes you may stay in school very late and by the time you head home it is dark or you may need to leave home very early in the morning. No matter the time, here are some tips on staying safe:
Pepper spray, taser and emergency car kit are all helpful tools that can be used during an emergency. Read the instructions on how to properly use these tools and only use them for emergencies.
Android and Apple have an emergency mode on smartphones to help during difficult situations. Depending on the company, these programs allow you to add emergency contacts, call emergency services and put your phone on ultra power saving mode.
More information for apple users, samsung, and android users.
Sometimes you are running late and forget to make yourself breakfast or maybe you did not pack lunch. One way to avoid this is by meal planning! There are many ways to meal plan, it is done according to your lifestyle. If you have never meal planned before, here is a some tips for beginners:
When meal planning, it is important to save on produce! Here are some guides to CalFresh, SNAP, and food banks that may be available near you.
Have a long commute? One of the discouraging things about having a long commute is knowing how to fill in the time.
Student discounts for Apple Music and Spotify
If you have an exam that day, you can review your notes or study guides on the way to school. This is helpful because you are briefly reviewing your notes before your exam to make sure you don’t forget some last minute details.
Discounted Bus Passes for Students
If you will be taking public transportation to get to and from school, you will need a bus pass. The cost for a bus pass can accumulate but luckily there are programs that offer discounts for students! Additionally, these offers have unlimited rides for your semester/quarter.**
- Orange County and Irvine Students
- Bay Area Students
- Clipper Card
- Will be able to use on Caltrain Golden Gate Transit, Marin Transit, Muni, SamTrans, etc… Check the FAQ for more information
- Must have an income level below $89,320
*keep in mind some places do not allow pepper spray, tasers or anything sharp inside their perimeters
**rules may vary, visit websites for more information
You see it all the time on movies and TV! People go shopping and pull out their nice sparkly credit card to pay for the charge, but what exactly is it? Credit cards are actually a staple in adult finances. Read below for more on what credit cards are and why they matter!
Q: What is a credit card?
During a transaction, a credit card will work the same as a debit card. Both cards have a 16-digit number, a security code, and an expiration date; however, the mechanics behind them are different.
While debit cards withdraw your own funds from the bank, credit cards draw from a loan. This “loan” is called your credit line. Banks will approve you for a certain loan amount and this loan is the maximum the bank is giving you to spend. If your credit line is $500, then you can only use $500. If your credit line is $1000, then you can only use $1000.
Because the money is not yours, you have to pay the money back month-to-month. Most banks have a listed minimum payment amount. For example, you may have used $300 of your $1000 credit line, and you’re required to make at least a $35 payment each month. The minimum payments vary from bank to bank.
Notably, credit cards charge you an interest rate. Because the bank is allowing you to use their money, they will charge you interest to make more money back. If your interest rate is 10%, then if you use $100, you have to pay the bank back $110 ($100 + $10 for interest).
There are different types of credit cards. Some are specifically meant for college students! As you grow older, you will have options to cards that are specific to travel, rewards shopping, and more.
Q: Why should I get a credit card?
Importantly, credit cards can help build and increase your credit score! A credit card is a perfect way to show lenders that you are a reliable consumer through on-time payments and credit usage.
If you pay your credit card bill every month on time, your credit score will go up! If you pay more than the minimum payment each month, your credit score will also go up!
Additionally, using only a portion of your credit limit is extremely beneficial! Financial experts recommend using only 30% of your credit limit. This indicates to other lenders that although you have access to more money, you do not need to use it all. So if you have a $1000 credit limit, it is recommended that you only use a constant $300. If you use more than 30%, your credit score may decrease, but if you manage to keep it at 30% or lower, your credit score will go up!
Q: Who can get a credit card?
There are a few requirements for a credit card. You must:
- Be at least 18 years old. At this age, you must have a reliable source of income (your financial aid counts);
- Have a social security number. If you are a DACA recipient, you can use the SSN assigned to you to apply;
Applications will then ask for other basic information such as your residence, birthdate, and more. Note that some banks may require that you have a co-signer. A co-signer is someone who becomes responsible for your debt if you cannot pay it back. If you miss your credit card payments, then the co-signer begins to be charged and becomes liable for the debt.
After submitting an application, you will know if you got approved or not within a few business days. Some cards let you know if you got approved instantly!
Q: How do I get a credit card?
The first step is choosing a credit card to apply to. Because we are not financial experts, we cannot recommend specific cards; however, there is plenty of information available online. Some cards are specifically designed for college students. While your credit limit may be lower, it will have more advantages for college students such as easy approval or no yearly charges.
Google, “best credit cards for college students,” and choose according to what you think is best! Remember that this is a huge financial decision and can impact you negatively if you get rejected. First, make sure that you can prove you have access to financial aid. A work-study or part-time job will always be a plus! If you have not worked for a few months anywhere, you should wait until you have a longer history of income. Credit cards are a safer option for people who have been working for at least a year or two.
Follow the links below for more resources on credit cards! Please remember that we at the Let’s Go team are not financial experts. More individualized advice is required by experts.
Summer is just around the corner and for some that may mean relaxing and recharging by going on camping trips or just hanging out with family and friends. But for others, summer break is a chance to catch up or get ahead in classes. Taking a summer class at a community college allows students to narrow their focus on a single subject – rather than your typical four, five or even six classes during the longer semesters. Although taking a summer class may not sound like a fun way to spend your summer break, taking these classes offer several major benefits. Here are some benefits if you are considering taking a summer class:
Benefit 1: You save money
Whether you are a high school or college student, taking summer classes at a community college can save you money in the long run. Community college course credits are typically more affordable than those offered at universities. At a CC you may pay only a few hundred dollars or even less than that if you qualify for fee waivers. At a four year university, you may end up paying a few thousand dollars for the same course credit at a CC. Saving money is important even if you are still in high school.
Additionally if you are a high school student and you want to get ahead in your coursework for college, taking summer classes at a CC may put you ahead of the curve when you apply to college. When you first start college, you will be placed at different levels of mathematics or english classes. To be placed in the correct level course, you need to take a placement test. If you took advanced placement or even college courses, these may count towards your college credits and you will be placed in more advanced courses. This is a benefit as you won’t waste time taking placement tests and in classes you already passed.
Benefit 2: You are able to transfer to a four year institution or graduate faster
If you started your higher education at a community college your main goal may be to transfer in two years. For some fields, like STEM fields, transferring in two years may be challenging as there are many courses to complete. But taking summer classes can help you complete your courses faster and in turn, transfer to a four year institution faster.
Since taking summer classes gives you the opportunity to earn more credits, this brings you closer to graduating faster.
Benefit 3: You complete your core courses and/or are able to catch up on credits
Summer semesters are shorter than your fall and spring semesters, this may be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you see this. It may be seen as a bad thing because it means you are learning a semester’s worth of material in five or six weeks. The plus side of this is that you are able to put all of your time and energy into a single subject rather than juggling multiple courses. So if you are dreading to take a challenging course during a long semester, consider taking it during the summer.
Benefit 4: Opportunity to study abroad
If summer vacation is about traveling and experiencing new things, why not do it while getting ahead in your studies? Many study abroad programs take place during the summer, and depending on that the school has to offer, it could be a great opportunity to both learn and travel.
When choosing what college to attend, one of the most important components to consider is the campus’s diversity. Not only in terms of race or ethnicity of the student population but also considering how diverse the campus is in terms of cultural background, geographic location, sexual orientations, gender identities, and abilities. These components tend to get overlooked because we are caught up in the beauty of the campus or its reputation.
Diversity is crucial. You must be able to relate to your peers and feel comfortable knowing that your values align with the campus you will earn your degree in.
To learn more about why and how to consider diversity when comparing schools, download this guide Diversity. Guide provided by DecidED