At the beginning of each semester, college students are issued refund checks. But how does a student from Northwest spend that money?
The majority of students said that they always put their refunds directly toward their debt.
“Mine goes to student loans and bills. That’s always first,” Marlon Oliver said.
Some of the students did not put it toward their debt but instead used their check on things for school, such as books or programs for their education.
“A big portion goes to my rent and fraternity dues,” Kaleb Sweet said.
Other students mentioned using it for conventional needs, such as parts for their car. Lacey Heinrichs said that she would be using it for some vehicle upgrades.
“This time I’m using it for new tires and, hopefully, a new muffler,” Heinrichs said.
Other students decided that a good use for their refund check was to help pay for living expenses. Aaron Scarbrough said he spent a good chunk of his on rent.
“I just figured I might as well get that all paid for the rest of the year,” Scarbrough said.
Similiarly, other students thought saving the money for emergencies was the wise move.
“I purposely plan for refund checks to be put toward bills and to have a little extra spending money for the semester…having the refund check as a back up is never a bad idea…until I graduate that is,” Heather Shumake said.
Students also spend their check on things they probably do not need. From televisions to Xboxs and even beer, some students on campus bought the luxury items they wanted.
Kaleb Mitchell talked about spending his refund check on wants in addition to things he needs.
“…I have to add more shoes to my collection. I’m looking toward 20 new pairs before the end of the year,” Mitchell said
Some students made non-conventional purchases with their checks.
Britt Parker, spent some money on her pet, among other things.
“I spend some of it on alcohol and my dog,” Parker said.
One student, Sabrina Chappel, donated a little bit of her refund to a local business, despite the fact that it was closing, after she purchased some self-fulfilling merchandise.
“I spent some of it at Hobby Lobby for crafting [supplies]. And then I donated some of it to Movie Magic,” Chappel said.
Vacations were another option that was mentioned. Andy Chamberlain has saved both of his refunds this year to take a trip.
“I am spending it on my trip to Mexico,” Chamberlain said.
Refund checks can vary from nothing to $200 and even $4,000. A fairly large number of students don’t even get a refund check.
Why don’t some students get a refund check? After students fill out a FASFA, they are also eligible to receive loans from the federal or state government and possibly private student loans through various organizations.
If a student borrows more money than required for tuition and the various fees associated with higher education, the difference is given to the person who borrowed the money, in most cases the student.
According to the Cashiering/Bursar’s Office, it’s hard to determine a median range for what the average dollar amount would be for all the refund checks that get issued. Diana Heitman, associate burser, had a fair estimate.
“Just for this spring [semester], I would say [the average] is around $1,800,” Heitman said.
As the cost of schooling continues to go up, so will students’ refunds checks. As for students at Northwest, most of them make the choice to put it toward their debt, or at least use them to finance living throughout their college years.