Financial Wellness

We understand that paying for college can be stressful and cause you to question whether this was the right decision for you. In order to make the best financial decisions during your time at college, it is important to do some planning ahead of time and be prepared for things that will undoubtedly arise in the future. Please consider these resources:

Office of Financial Aid: Become familiar with your financial aid officer ASAP. They will help you with questions about scholarships, loans, and other financial options to help you pay for college.  They can also help determine which refunds you will receive and when, as well as how to manage this money.

Office of Student Employment: Curious about what kinds of jobs are available both on and off campus to help pay for college and other expenses? Our Office of Student Employment will help you determine which opportunities are available to best fit your financial needs and schedule. 

Budgeting Apps: Many students express how important it is to keep track of  how much money is coming in each month (or semester, especially if you receive a refund check), and how much is going out.  Fortunately, there are many apps available for this purpose. Pick one and stick with it; you will be happy you did in the long run. 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Did you know that work-study participants may be eligible for extra cash assistance for food expenses? Some students qualify for $10-$150 food assistance per month. Complete the application to see if you qualify as a student.

Textbook/Supplies Affordability: Most financial aid packages will refund you for the cost of  most of your books, but often times the refund will not arrive until AFTER you need your books. (Do not wait 2 or 3 weeks to buy your books.) Talk to your financial aid officer about receiving a voucher for the bookstore as soon as possible in the beginning of the semester.  Also take a look at textbook buying advice in our College Success Guide.  If you have followed the tips in the guide and are still unable to get all your required materials, or you have a question not covered, please contact Bonnie Powers, content services librarian, or Susan Knoll care coordinator.

Emergency Funding Request: F&M understands that sometimes events happen unexpectedly that cause financial issues and you may need assistance quickly. We have both grants (that do not need to be paid back) and loans (borrowed money that needs to be repaid) available. Fill out an application to see if you qualify. 

Academic Wellness 

F&M provides a rigorous academic environment because we know you can handle it. The first year is one of adjustment for all students, but it can be especially a challenge when no one came before you to show you some of the ropes.  At F&M, we offer many academic supports to aid in your success as a student. Again, it is important to plan ahead of time and become familiar with these services at the beginning of the academic year.

Office of Student Accessibility Services: There are no "504 Plans" or "IEPs" in college, but you may still qualify for individualized-style learning plans and support. Need accommodations for a physical or mental health diagnosis? Dining or housing accommodations? Schedule a meeting with SAS as soon as you can; they will help you figure out a plan to make sure any special needs are covered.

Academic Support Services: Connect one-on-one with our Learning Support Specialist who can help you figure out how to manage your time and access the right supports to maximize your academic success. Learn about other resources that will support your specific learning style.

Tutoring: F&M offers a variety of tutoring services in every subject area. Don’t be afraid to ask for and seek out help. 

Know Your Professors: Getting to know your professors one-on-one, and allowing them to get to know you, will help your academic success tremendously. Utilize their office hours and reach out to your them if you need anything. They are allies in your success and will go above and beyond to offer support. 

Connection 

Being a First Generation college student can be lonely, especially in the beginning. It is important for to explore opportunities to help you find “your people,” and learn about other ways to thrive socially on F&M's campus. 

Office of Student Engagement And Leadership: We have over 80 student clubs and organizations, from intramural sports and cultural activities, to political and student government organizations. Find your passion!

First Gen Diplomats: Join our First Gen Student Organization. The group meets regularly throughout the year and advocates for/creates awareness of issues related to being the first in your family to attend college.

Ware Institute for Civic Engagement: Lancaster is a vibrant, diverse community. Learn about ways to engage with our local community members and organizations through volunteer and service learning opportunities. 

College Houses: Your college house is your “home away from home.” Become involved with your house activities and get to know your fellow house neighbors.

F&M “Lingo” Guide Get to know common F&M terms and language.

Social-Emotional Wellness 

One of the challenges that First Generation students face is loneliness and stress. In the beginning, it can be difficult to be away from your family and other social supports back home. It is important to take care of yourself and seek help when you feel sad, fearful, frustrated, and anxious. It is also important to realize that these are all normal emotions to have! Know that there are many resources available to support your emotional wellness:

Student Wellness Center-Counseling Services: All F&M students are entitled to eight free sessions at our Counseling Services every year. In addition, SWC offers various psycho-educational community groups found on their website (updated at the beginning of each semester).

Student Medical Services: Our medical services include basic wellness and psychiatry services. Physical wellness is closely linked to emotional wellness, so it is important to take care of both.

Imposter Syndrome: Many first generation students are plagued with thoughts that getting accepted into college  was “a mistake” and that they do not deserve to be here because they are "not smart enough." Imposter syndrome and its psychological impacts are very real. Learn about how to recognize it, and more importantly,  ways to combat it

Communication with Your Family: If this is the first time you have been away from you family for an extended period of time, it can be hard to figure out the best way to communicate with your loved ones, and what their expectations will be. Again, do some of the planning ahead of time and discuss how often your family would like to hear from you.

DipCares Team: F&M recognizes that all college students face many emotional challenges at one point or another. Mental health, family issues, trauma, financial stress, etc. affect many students and their ability to focus on their academic wellness. If you are concerned for your wellbeing (or someone else’s), fill out a referral form and a DipCares team member will offer support. Check out the page for various resources to address social-emotional needs, including crisis numbers.

Jed Foundation: Helping students successfully make the switch from home to college, and other helpful resources to support their emotional wellbeing in a holistic way. 

The Steve Fund: Part of the Jed Foundation devoted to the emotional health and wellbeing for Students of Color, including a helpline. 

A Student's Guide To Their First Year In College: A Video Series by First Lady Obama  

A Student's Guide To Your First Year of College

A Student's Guide to Their First Year of College

First Lady Obama created a series of short videos focusing on advice for first-year students from various experts. 

Watch