ROI and your degree

Going to college for most is large financial commitment, according to an article written by Mealanie Hanson for the Education Data Initiative, the average student loan debts for students are as follows:

The average undergraduate student loan debt balance is $37,337
The average debt among master’s degree holders is $83,651
The average debt among PhD holders is $125,276

Below is a list put together by Methodology, of the top majors ranked on average starting salary, with 1 being the highest and 163 being the lowest:

  1. Petroleum Engineering: $107,954
  2. Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering: $91,562
  3. Nuclear Engineering: $86,112
  4. Computer Engineering: $79,540
  5. Chemical Engineering: $78,322
  6. Computer Science: $77,223
  7. Actuarial Science: $76,528
  8. Electrical Engineering: $75,120
  9. Mechanical Engineering: $73,133
  10. Applied Mathematics: $72,565
  11. Aerospace Engineering: $72,070
  12. Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering: $71,593
  13. Materials Science: $71,467
  14. Economics: $70,590
  15. General Engineering: $69,172
  16. Finance: $68,916
  17. Statistics and Decision Science: $68,213
  18. Materials Engineering and Materials Science: $68,206
  19. Biological Engineering: $67,843
  20. Miscellaneous Engineering: $67,815
  21. Business Economics: $67,790
  22. Biomedical Engineering: $67,239
  23. Management Information Systems and Statistics: $67,232
  24. Construction Services: $67,183
  25. Civil Engineering: $66,658
  26. Architectural Engineering: $64,345
  27. Operations Logistics and E-Commerce: $63,712
  28. Engineering and Industrial Management: $63,266
  29. Public Policy: $63,145
  30. Information Sciences: $63,024
  31. Electrical Engineering Technology: $62,647
  32. Miscellaneous Engineering Technologies: $62,470
  33. Engineering Mechanics Physics and Science: $62,311
  34. Environmental Engineering: $61,170
  35. Mechanical Engineering Related Technologies: $60,869
  36. Mathematics: $60,704
  37. Computer and Information Systems: $60,101
  38. Nursing: $59,569
  39. Accounting: $59,014
  40. Computer Administration Management and Security: $58,943
  41. Physics: $58,623
  42. Nuclear, Industrial Radiology, And Biological Technologies: $58,345
  43. Transportation Sciences and Technologies: $58,018
  44. Industrial Production Technologies: $57,144
  45. General Business: $56,918
  46. Computer Programming and Data Processing: $56,578
  47. Engineering Technologies: $56,556
  48. Miscellaneous Business and Medical Administration: $56,070
  49. Miscellaneous Social Sciences: $55,710
  50. International Business: $55,273
  51. Marketing and Marketing Research: $54,908
  52. Agricultural Economics: $54,696
  53. Food Science: $54,117
  54. International Relations: $53,927
  55. Business Management and Administration: $53,422
  56. Medical Technologies Technicians: $52,910
  57. Computer Networking and Telecommunications: $52,425
  58. Agriculture Production and Management: $52,130
  59. Political Science and Government: $52,064
  60. Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration: $51,934
  61. Architecture: $51,911
  62. Medical Assisting Services: $51,722
  63. Advertising and Public Relations: $51,656
  64. Electrical, Mechanical, And Precision Technologies and Production: $51,241
  65. Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: $51,171
  66. Cognitive Science and Biopsychology: $50,571
  67. Human Resources and Personnel Management: $50,302
  68. Astronomy and Astrophysics: $49,648
  69. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: $49,521
  70. Multi-Disciplinary or General Science: $48,838
  71. Chemistry: $48,692
  72. Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology: $48,626
  73. General Agriculture: $48,568
  74. Miscellaneous Agriculture: $48,483
  75. Communications: $48,087
  76. Pre-Law and Legal Studies: $47,899
  77. Neuroscience: $47,815
  78. Biochemical Sciences: $47,542
  79. Molecular Biology: $47,107
  80. Genetics: $46,795
  81. Geosciences: $46,614
  82. Physical Sciences: $46,421
  83. Microbiology: $46,397
  84. Plant Science and Agronomy: $46,311
  85. Health and Medical Administrative Services: $46,230
  86. Journalism: $46,015
  87. Miscellaneous Education: $45,945
  88. Geography: $45,833
  89. Criminal Justice and Fire Protection: $45,819
  90. Geology and Earth Science: $45,792
  91. Hospitality Management: $45,709
  92. Intercultural and International Studies: $45,357
  93. French German Latin And Other Common Foreign Language Studies: $45,323
  94. Health and Medical Preparatory Programs: $45,317
  95. Soil Science: $45,304
  96. Public Administration: $45,296
  97. Commercial Art and Graphic Design: $45,273
  98. Miscellaneous Biology: $45,251
  99. Other Foreign Languages: $45,028
  100. Criminology: $44,971
  101. Oceanography: $44,952
  102. History: $44,736
  103. Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: $44,639
  104. Philosophy and Religious Studies: $44,629
  105. Forestry: $44,339
  106. Clinical Psychology: $44,336
  107. Sociology: $44,075
  108. Communication Technologies: $43,883
  109. United States History: $43,674
  110. Mass Media: $43,455
  111. Physiology: $43,441
  112. Botany: $43,437
  113. Miscellaneous Fine Arts: $43,407
  114. Area Ethnic and Civilization Studies: $43,295
  115. Treatment Therapy Professions: $43,289
  116. Environmental Science: $43,187
  117. Art History and Criticism: $43,098
  118. Nutrition Sciences: $42,845
  119. Biology: $42,325
  120. Natural Resources Management: $42,053
  121. Liberal Arts: $41,843
  122. Mathematics Teacher Education: $41,767
  123. General Education: $41,528
  124. General Social Sciences: $41,303
  125. Physical Fitness Parks Recreation and Leisure: $41,228
  126. Community and Public Health: $41,224
  127. English Language and Literature: $41,149
  128. Miscellaneous Health Medical Professions: $40,971
  129. Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies: $40,918
  130. Psychology: $40,807
  131. Film Video and Photographic Arts: $40,764
  132. General Medical and Health Services: $40,623
  133. Special Needs Education: $40,464
  134. Physical and Health Education Teaching: $40,178
  135. Secondary Teacher Education: $40,048
  136. Animal Sciences: $40,040
  137. Science and Computer Teacher Education: $39,647
  138. Fine Arts: $39,404
  139. Language and Drama Education: $39,336
  140. Art and Music Education: $38,858
  141. Teacher Education: Multiple Levels: $38,834
  142. Social Science or History Teacher Education: $38,775
  143. Cosmetology Services and Culinary Arts: $38,654
  144. Linguistics and Comparative Language and Literature: $38,558
  145. Miscellaneous Psychology: $38,273
  146. Family and Consumer Sciences: $38,102
  147. Humanities: $38,006
  148. Educational Psychology: $37,543
  149. Human Services and Community Organization: $37,533
  150. Elementary Education: $37,509
  151. Composition and Rhetoric: $37,287
  152. Anthropology and Archeology: $37,187
  153. Music: $37,092
  154. Communication Disorders Sciences and Services: $37,088
  155. Ecology: $36,862
  156. Social Work: $36,751
  157. Counseling Psychology: $36,672
  158. Theology and Religious Vocations: $36,515
  159. Zoology: $36,325
  160. Early Childhood Education: $36,233
  161. Studio Arts: $35,812
  162. Visual and Performing Arts: $35,787
  163. Drama and Theater Arts: $35,477

With all this information, and starting salaries, we can see how important it is to pick the right degree. Choosing the wrong education can have a negative financial impact on you, holding you accountable to pay student loans well beyond the typical 10-year period. However, choosing a degree with a higher paying average salary can set you up for financial success and freedom in the near future after graduation. With that, this list is not to deter you away from your dream job or major that you enjoy, but to give you a better perspective and understanding of the expected finances one will have when starting their dream job, so they can continue striving for financial freedom.

What is your major, and why? What do you plan on doing upon completion of your education, and why?

It’s That Time of the Year Again!

No, not holiday season but scholarship season! UW Whitewater’s scholarships for 2024-2025 school year will open on December 1, 2023. The scholarships are now viewable in the students WINS account and can be searched by the students college (Letters & Sciences) or non applicable. We suggest students search in both areas to maximize their opportunity for scholarships and apply for all they can. Scholarships are free money and who wouldn’t want free money to go to school! PLUS the more scholarships awarded the less student loans a student will need.

But…don’t stop the search there! Students check with your family members to see if the company they work for has any scholarships available. Check with in your home town to see if any business’s, local Moose Lodge, VFW Hall etc. are awarding scholarships.

Lastly don’t forget to search for scholarships this spring online. UWW’s financial aid office as a list of safe scholarship websites. For more information on scholarship scams go to:

Good Luck!

Impulse Spending is on the Rise!

In a recent survey Sarah O’Brien a Personal finance reporter found that 45% of the respondents know they are overspending since last reported in April 2021.  Credit card debit is at nearly $1 trillion in 2021 and is climbing.  Below are some tips to help/curb the overspending urges:

1. Start a budget or if you already have a budget it is time to re-evaluate your current budget.

2. Think about your goals: to be debt-free, go on vacation, buy a home and write them down and before you act on your spending look over your goals.

3. Leave the item in your shopping cart for at least 24 hours.  Do you have the strong need for the item or have you forgotten about it?

4. Unsubscribe from marketing emails.

5. Take your credit cards off of your apps on your cell phone.

Pick one, two or all of the above tips and implement a plan to work towards your goals and improve your overall financial wellness.  Take charge of your finances now to set yourself up for future success and freedom.  For more information or to set up a financial coaching session, contact the UWW Financial Literacy Center.

Higher Education Relief Grant (Spring 2021)

The recent release of the Higher Education Relief Grant, which will hopefully help students truly in need of financial support, the application deadline is March 15th. This grant is meant to assist students in need of money for costs such as tuition, housing, food, health care, child care, and any type of emergency costs.

When applying for the grant, which is the student’s responsibility and has been emailed to all students, make sure you follow the guidelines provided, and are in need of the money. Everyone who applies may not receive the grant as it will be based on the student’s FAFSA. Although, if you do not apply and believe you are in need you will not receive the grant. When receiving this grant, first make sure you accept the offer, then when the check is sent your way make sure you deposit it as soon as possible!

As a grant, it is not money that you will need to pay back. With this in mind, many may think it will cover the costs for a vacation, clothes, accessories, and whatever non-essential costs that may arise. Instead, this is an opportunity to pay off current expenses, costs, and future debt. It may seem very enticing to take that trip, but this could cause for future stress and create a financial burden that will hurt in the long run.

If you are in need of assistance as to how to allocate this money with your expenses, need help building a budget, or even want overall guidance financially, I urge you to visit the Financial Literacy Center.

FAFSA is Open!

Although the 2020-21 academic year is just getting started, it’s time to start thinking about your financial aid for next year. As of October 1, the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is available. Although not required, students are encouraged to complete the application early (before January 1).

The FAFSA can be accessed using your FSA ID at The UW-W Financial Aid Office is available for questions related to the FAFSA and federal financial aid process.

Remember, the Financial Literacy Center is here to help you navigate your personal finances while at UW-Whitewater. For more information and options on paying for your education, schedule a coaching session and/or visit our website today!

Things to consider when deciding whether to move off campus

As leases are signed for next academic year, there comes a time when you need to sit down and think about what you will need in order to move from the dorms into your own place. While getting out of the dorms may be a nice reprieve, there are some “behind the scenes” costs and ideas that you need to consider before making the decision as to where to live and with whom to live.

The biggest thing to consider whether or not you are prepared to handle a multitude of new responsibilities by yourself. No one is going to be there to clean up after you anymore, which means that you need to start doing it yourself. While cleaning the bathroom is not the most fun task in the world, it is a necessary step to help ensure your own personal hygiene.

Another major thing to know/consider is the structure of your lease. If your lease states that you and your roommate(s) are in a separate tenancy agreement, that means that each of you signs a contract with the landlord so if one person needs to move out or does not pay rent on time, the others are not effected. The other way that your lease can be structured is as a joint tenancy agreement. If someone is late on rent or wants to move out, all those listed on the lease can be affected.

A final thing to consider is an agreement with your roommates. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, but write up a set of rules and have all people living with you sign it with someone not on the lease as a witness. This way, if someone is not pulling their weight, or refuses to pay rent, you can have some legal recourse against them. This is especially important if you have a lease with joint tenancy. You do not want to be on the hook for your roommate’s part of the rent if they are delinquent in their payment, and a signed agreement with your roommates might help to alleviate your potential financial burden.

All of these things are ideas to consider before deciding where to move to and who you want to live with. You will have to deal with those other students every single day, so make sure you choose wisely. Moving off campus can be an excellent experience, just make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row so you can enjoy your time as much as possible.

Need Help Finding Where to Pay Your Student Loans?

Many students do not know where to go to access their student loans, or how to find who their lender is. Here at the Financial Literacy Center, we want to assist you in all your personal finance needs, including loans.

To see your loans, go to and click on the “Repayment” tab. This will give you a list of tools available to you. You can find out how to make a payment, use a repayment estimator, and more to help you better understand your loans.

If you click on the “Find out how to make a payment” link, it will take you to the list of current lenders. If you know who your lender is you can visit their site and it will tell you how to pay off your loans through them. Otherwise, their is a link for if you don’t know your provider, and that will walk you through how to find information on your loans and how to make a payment.

If you have any money-related questions, set up an appointment today!! We are always happy to help students with any questions they have!

Ideas for a Cheaper Spring Break Trip

As spring break approaches (it’ll be here before you think), students from all over the country are looking for a warm destination to get away from their school work for a week. Most students are on a tight budget and only have a certain amount of money set aside for the week. Obviously, you are going to want to make your dollar go as far as you possibly can, and here are a few ideas on how you can get the most bang for your buck.

The biggest cost saver is to plan ahead, and if you are reading this and haven’t started planning yet, you might be in a little bit of trouble. Planning ahead helps you to avoid peak time pricing, and also relieves stress as the big week approaches. Another thing to consider before you head out is where you are going to be staying. Certain locations might have hostiles which can be rented for a cheap rate per night. Another possibility would be to go to a location with a family member or friend and bunk up with them for the week.

Once you are at your destination, there are a couple more tips to help you save a dollar here and there. The first tip is to bring your student ID and see if restaurants and shops offer student discounts. Not all places offer a discount, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Another way to avoid unnecessary costs is to avoid buying silly souvenirs. While a refrigerator magnet might not break the bank, how many t-shirts or other silly merchandise do you really need? Finally, look for deals whenever possible. Most places have tourist booklets with coupons in them for free. Check out the offers in those booklets and plan some meals or excursions around what is discounted.

Spring break can be an exciting time to relieve the stresses of school as well as get away to a warm destination for a week. However, going far away doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank in order to enjoy your time. Create a budget and do your absolute best to stick to it. Look for local deals and bring as much food and drink with you as you can to limit the amounts you have to buy at your destination. Spring break should be a week full of fun, and there are many ways to do it without breaking the bank.

Exam Week: The Final “Payoff” of the Semester

Exam week can be one of the most stressful weeks of our young adult lives. A semester’s worth of information has to be retained and then applied to exams in 3, 4, 5, and sometimes even 6 different classes. While it is certainly academically beneficial to study hard in order to do well on your exams, there also is a financial aspect to consider.

The average tuition cost for an in-state student in the US is just over $10,000 per year (or $5,000 per semester). If the average student takes 15 credits per semester, you are paying $333.33 per credit, or $1,000 per 3 credit class. I don’t know of too many college students who would want to shell out an extra $1,000 to retake a course the next semester, simply because they bombed their finals and in return failed the course.

Some tips that experts have come up with to help remain calm during exam week can not only help your academic performance, but also your wallet. Perhaps the biggest tip to be offered up is to get some sleep! While cramming until 3 am sometimes has to be done, make sure that you are adequately rested for whatever you have coming the next day. Another way to help you get proper amounts of sleep is to budget out your time. If you section off times for studying, eating, socializing, and sleeping, you should then be able to get all the things done that you need to get done without too much stress. Finally, eating well is key to peak performance. Your body needs to proper nutrients to function at maximum capacity, so while that late night Taco Bell run might seem like a great idea, try eating some fruit and drinking a glass of water.

Exam week is not a fun time for anyone, but you can certainly learn to manage it if you put yourself on a schedule, eat healthy, and get proper amounts of sleep. Having to retake a class because of a poor exam performance not only hurts your GPA and your pride, but it will cost you financially as well.