July 1: Open an account at an on-campus bank

Freshman year, I suffered nine months without a TCF bank on campus. I could not make a deposit without going home, and I couldn’t use an ATM without paying that annoying fee. Therefore, every time I went home I would deposit a stack of checks close to expiring and then get a lecture from my father about how those ATM fees add up. Yea, I know, to $76.50, but who’s counting.

I then switched to National City, only to find out the University was in the process of entering into a partnership with TCF. It worked out for the best, though, because National City is conveniently located across the street from my work and has an ATM machine right on Green Street.

There are a handful of banks in the area that also have nationwide branches, but some of the big name banks don’t have a presence in southern Illinois. Make sure your son or daughter opens an account with a bank you will be able to access while you are on campus.

Ironically enough, TCF is now the safe choice. The University’s partnership with the banking company allows students to open free checking accounts and even link their TCF student checking account to their University-issued i-card for use as an ATM and PIN-based debit card.

The Illini Union, the Illini Union Bookstore, Campus Recreation Center East, the Undergraduate Library, Grainger Engineering Library, Florida Avenue Residence Hall and Gregory Street Dining Hall all have TCF ATMs, according to the i-card Web site.

Other options can be just as convenient, if not more depending on your child’s location. Research your current bank and make sure you can find it in Campustown. Otherwise, it would be wise to open another account.