Making Your Schedule: Advice to Students from Students

27 Jul

Recent Purdue Graduate Words of wisdom to the class of 2020
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

I’ll be honest. When you think of that girl in class who has her entire week planned out, even down to what meal she is going to cook on what night, that’s me.

My favorite two days every semester occur during syllabus week, a time when I can write every assignment from every professor for the entire semester. For all new Boilermakers, syllabus week happens the first week of classes every semester and you review the syllabus in class … for most classes. Take advance of this time while you are reviewing the semester’s assignments and due dates by completing your planner.

I love planning and I love schedules. I like to think of my planning addiction as a type of goal setting exercise. I write what I want to accomplish every week, and it’s not complete until I actually mark the line through it. That’s actually another one of my greatest joys—crossing off tasks that I want to do after they are finished. I honestly believe that without weekly goals, I would never get anything accomplished.

cartoon calendarWriting things down is a motivation for me because I hate seeing things in my planner that I didn’t get to cross off. The feeling is comparable to my grandparents saying they are disappointed in me; it’s that serious! This technique can also be used for long-term goals too, which is basically a glorified way of me saying I want to plan my work outs so I can get my high school body back by the end of summer.

It’s still the same concept, though. I plan out what I want to do, week by week, to get to my end result. It worked well for me during college, so I am more than optimistic that it will also work after college.

The things I’ve mentioned for goal-setting are fairly juvenile. I mean, it’s not like I am setting goals for my ten-year plan or anything, even though now that I think about it, I probably should start that soon.

The key aspects of goal setting I have learned through college and personal life are to be realistic with yourself. Don’t tell anyone how much you love to plan things. Make sure your goals are attainable

Cartoon Family Portrait

for you, or else you will get discouraged. It doesn’t make sense to say you are going to work out for three hours after you get home from work and then cook a five course meal. That doesn’t even sound enjoyable! And I’m really stressing here, keep your planning addiction to yourself because people love to mess with you. They will start inviting you to things, like the bars when they know you have an exam tomorrow morning, just because they know that it will torment you and ruin your chances of getting your goals accomplished for the day. Just do what I do, think to yourself: “what would my grandparents want me to do”… and you will usually make the right decision.

Which Jobs Should You Be Applying For?

15 Jul featured image

Searching for your first job out of college can be a daunting task. While it may seem like graduation is forever away, it’s actually right around the corner. Not only do you have to learn how to apply for your first real job, you have to figure out which jobs you even want to apply for. Between tweaking your resume and creating cover letters, you’ll quickly realize you can’t apply for every opening. With your limited time, you have to choose which jobs to apply for and what jobs end up being passed over. So here are five tips on figuring out which jobs you should be applying for.first job search post college advice.jpg

#1. Pick your priority

Figure out what your priority is when job searching. Many people won’t even consider job searching outside of the area in which they live, while others are looking for an escape. There are a lot of factors that go into figuring out which job you’ll want, and if you know what your #1 priority is, deciding whether or not to apply for a job makes it that much easier. Here are some different factors to help you find your priority:

  • Location – Many people are tied to one area due to family or their significant others. To them, relocating isn’t an option. Others would like nothing more than a change of scenery; therefore, relocating isn’t a problem.
  • Pay/ Salary – We all need money, but for some people the desire for high pay trumps all other potential priorities.
  • Opportunity for Advancement – Especially if it’s your first job, potential advancement opportunities can make a big difference, as you don’t have to switch employers for upward mobility.
  • Specific Job Field – This may seem like a given for your search, but if you found a job outside of your field that meet all your other requirements, would the field matter?
  • Benefits Package – Typically not the #1 priority, but flexibility, vacation time, healthcare, dental, daycare, or even student loan repayment vary greatly from one employer to the next.
  • Making a Difference – Not all jobs pay well monetarily, but instead rely more on the feeling of making a positive difference in the world.
  • Employer Size – Working at a major company has a lot of exciting benefits to some people. Or maybe you’d feel more comfortable in a smaller, more intimate type of setting?
  • Job Security – Getting that first job is no good if you are laid off right away. If this is your priority, you may be willing to compromise for a job with decent security.

#2 Remember, it’s your first job, not your dream job

If your first job happens to end up being your dream job, congratulations! For the rest of us who make an average of seven career changes in our working lives, the key to a successful first job is using it as a launching pad. Look for jobs that have advancement opportunities or marketable skills to help you propel yourself throughout your career.

You don’t want to end up in a job you hate, but it’s important to remember that this job can be a valuable experience to help land you your dream job down the road. This is especially true if you are leaving college without a lot of experience in your field.

Keep in mind that the salary will be entry-level, as well. Don’t be surprised if you’re not offered the median salary in your industry since you don’t have much, if any, field experience. If you do well, you can earn your advancement in pay or position by moving up within the company or with another employer.

#3 Know yourself

Before you accept a job, be sure that it’s a job you want and not one that parents, counselors, or friends want for you. Hopefully you have had enough life experience to know not only what your priorities are, but what equates to a deal-breaker for you. Does a typical 9-5 sound ideal or does working varied hours sound more appealing? Do you prefer to travel for work or would you prefer to be in the same location every day? Be sure it’s what you actually want or you could be back to job searching again before you know it. This job needs to fit your current lifestyle, not only the “what-if” scenarios you’ve considered for your future.

#4 It takes time (and it might be your job for a while)

Unemployment is not much fun after the first couple weeks, as concerns about being able to pay your bills—and eventually student loans—become reality. It takes time to fill out applications and tweak your resume for each job. Remember that until you find your full-time job, your job is to job search. It is exhausting applying for various jobs for eight hours a day, but it’s better than not being able to make your ends meet.

#5 Utilize your network

If you’re still in school, you’re going to want to take advantage of all those free lunches and other events put on to meet your professors and other staff. Not only do these people have connections outside of your college, they can also be great resources for the future. Talk to them and find out how they got their foot in the door! Don’t be shy about asking for an informational interview from these people. Many have a vested interest in seeing you succeed and will go out of their way to help you. Just be sure to make a good impression while you still can!

How to Pay Off Student Loans & High Interest Debt

12 Jul

66% of students who attend public colleges take out student loans. Debt isn’t fun, but when it comes to your education it is a great investment in yourself. While you may not enjoy paying back student loans there are some steps you can take to save yourself some money and make your payments hurt a little bit less.America Saves Week Day5 paying off high interest debt student loans

  1. Prioritize high-interest debt: While Federal Direct student loans are capped at 6.8%, private loans are not. Even worse interest rates? Credit cards. If you have credit card debt, prioritize paying it off before your student loans. 6.8% interest is no fun, but credit card interest rates 20% and higher can be crippling.
  2. Income based repayment: If you qualify for an income-based repayment (IBR) plan, do yourself a favor and apply for one. Generally if your debt is higher than your income you will probably qualify. Even if you are able to make your payments without much issue, an IBR can still save you money. How you may ask? If you keep paying the same amount you did before, you can target your payments toward either your highest interest or smallest loans depending on which repayment style fits you. Not to mention, if you are one of the approximately 50% of people who work in public service, you can qualify for loan forgiveness after 10 years.

Pick your payoff: There are two main methods for paying off debt when you have multiple balances to pay. The snowball and the avalanche method.

The snowball method entails taking the extra money you have and paying off your smallest debts first while paying the minimum on the rest. Then once that is taken care of, you roll that payment into the next smallest and knock off your obligations one-by-one. This is best for those who like the reward of seeing their different loans disappear the quickest and can help you stay on track easier.

The avalanche method is similar to the snowball where you make minimum payments on all loans but one. The difference is that you target the highest interest rates first. While you may not experience the visual rewards of seeing the small debts disappear quicker, you will save the most amount of money in the long run this way.

One way to not repay is by spreading out the extra you pay to all debts and pay a little bit additional on everything each month. This provides neither of the advantages that the avalanche and snowball method have while still costing you the same amount. You get less savings than the avalanche, and less of the reward that the snowball offers.

Healthcare & College Students: What You Need to Know

8 Jul final_student_healthcareedited

Up to this point in your life, there’s a very good chance that you’ve never picked up the phone to schedule a doctor’s appointment.  There’s also a very good chance that you’ve never thought about how medical insurance works. The receptionist at the doctor’s office takes the information and the charges get paid, right?  Well, sometimes, but this is typically not the case.  Many people are covered by an employer-provided insurance plan. Often, these plans have high deductibles, and a limited number of physicians you’re allowed to see. As a college student, healthcare is probably the last thing on your mind,but it shouldn’t be. Unexpected healthcare costs could really put a bind on your already stretched college budget.

But don’t worry, the process isn’t as complicated as it seems.  With a little planning and preparation you can learn how to manage your healthcare dollars wisely. Here’s how:

Be Preparedfinal_student_healthcareedited.jpg

Have a plan and know your benefits before you need to use them.  Ask your parents if you are covered by their medical insurance and for how long. Most plans will cover you until you are 26. Once you find out this basic information, call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card.

Ask your insurance company:

  • Am I covered while I am away from home? Some plans only cover for emergency services when you are away from home.
  • Am I covered at Purdue University Student Health Services? PUSH is out of network for all insurance plans except the student resources plan offered by the university.
  • What percentage will your insurance pay? What percentage will be your responsibility? You will be responsible to pay for services not covered or the balance after insurance payment.

Once you are familiar with your current insurance coverage, you can go here to see the plan offered by the university.  Read the plan coverage and do a quick cost/benefit analysis to decide whether this plan would be more or less cost effective for you and your individual circumstances.

Purdue University Student Health Services (PUSH)

Purdue Student Health Services is a student-oriented healthcare facility on campus.  The providers at PUSH understand college health and its impact on your academic success. This is a great resource for affordable, accessible healthcare. Most currently enrolled students on the West Lafayette campus are eligible to be seen at PUSH. Students enrolled full time during any semester can be seen for an illness or injury at no charge.  Students enrolled part time are eligible to be seen, but they will have to pay an office visit charge.  There are fees for all other services, including laboratory, radiology, physical therapy, women’s services, allergy and immunization services, and sports medicine. Although there are fees for most services at PUSH, the fees are typically less than they would be if you were to go to a provider off campus (good to know if your percentage of required out-of-pocket expense is high). If you are at PUSH for an office visit and your provider recommends any testing or treatment, regardless of your insurance coverage, it’s always best to ask our business office how much the test/treatment will be and find out from your insurance company how much they will pay for that particular charge.

Don’t forget to utilize the Business Services department at PUSH.  Often, they can help you choose the most cost-effective path forward with your healthcare.

Practice Healthy Habits

Now that you will be learning how to manage your own health and healthcare with less parental involvement, it’s important to remember that taking care of yourself matters in the learning process.  Staying healthy is going to save you the most money in terms of healthcare expenses.  Good nutrition, sleep, and exercise are as important as studying for that final exam. You are going to be learning habits now that will impact your wellness for the rest of your life. In the long run, taking care of your health, managing your healthcare, and being a wise consumer with your healthcare dollars will reward you, and your bank account.

Finding Good Deals Without Being an Extreme Couponer

30 Jun final 2 - coupon - photo-1464374288807-174911d4adb9

By Lexie M. Porter, Purdue University student and Peer Counselor for the Division of Financial Aidfinal 2 - coupon - photo-1464374288807-174911d4adb9

Between your classes and extracurricular activities, there is just no time to become an extreme couponer. You would have to set aside countless hours of your day to search for coupons to cover the cost of your entire grocery list. This might sound feasible for some, but if the lifestyle of an extreme couponer isn’t for you, keep reading.

Below, you will find a few tips on how to take advantage of coupons and deals without wasting too much time.

Check websites for coupons

As a college student, you must be quite familiar with the internet. Many of you probably spend your entire day in front of a computer or smartphone. While you’re there, why not set aside some time to coupon browse? If you check a store’s website, you can generally find printable coupons that can be used  in store. This is a great tool to use if you plan on going to a specific location; however, if you know that you want a specific item, Retailmenot.com offers coupons that can be used at multiple stores. Just search an item and you will find a variety of coupons and promo codes..

Go to a store and pick up a weekly ad.

It’s okay if you didn’t have time to print off coupons at home. As soon as you walk into a store, pick up a weekly ad. While you’re pushing that cart up and down the aisles, browse through the ad. You’ll be able to find various coupons for the items you need. If an item happens to be out of stock, many stores can give you a rain check. With a rain check, you will be able to come back to the store at a later date and receive that item for its originally discounted price. Rain checks are great for items that you don’t need right away, but still want. Remember that items generally take about a week to be restocked.

Browse your Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for deals.

It’s no secret that you browse through your social media at least once a day. So why not browse your social media for deals? On any social media website, you have the option to follow anyone or anything you choose. Try following your favorite stores and checking for deals on their accounts. If you follow a store on a social media website, you will be able to see deals in your feed. Since browsing social media is a part of your everyday routine, take advantage of this opportunity to find deals and save money.

Last, but not least, GO TO CLASS.

Did you know that if you go to class, you can save money? It sounds like a strange concept, but it is completely legitimate. Have you heard of the app Pocket Points? Pocket Points is an app that rewards you with deals if you go to class. Once you get to class, turn the app on and don’t touch your phone until class is finished. While in class, the longer you go without touching your phone, the more points you will earn. These points can get you deals from your favorite clothing stores or free cookies from Insomnia Cookies. So why not download a free app for free cookies?

Keep in mind that these are only a few ways in which you can save money while shopping. If you want to try something else, go for it! Do whatever you can do to save money in college and remember that saving money now will save you later

Where to Find Cheap or Free Stuff for your Apartment in the Greater Lafayette Area

22 Jun community yard sale

Lauren Walker, Purdue alumna
www.purdue.edu/mymoney

With August closing in and the new year of leases starting soon, it’s time to start prepping for your new place. Whether it’s in Purdue housing or an off-campus apartment, you most likely need to buy a few things. It’s easy to create a huge dent in your summer savings if you buy everything at full retail price. So buy used!  I’ve always been able to easily find furniture under $50 a piece every year I’ve been at Purdue. I’ve even gotten some stuff for free. Where, you ask?

clothes rack

1.      Thrift Stores    

PROS: It’s a one-stop-shop for small items like cooking utensils, dining ware and picture frames at a reasonable price.

CONS:  If you’re looking for something very specific, they can be hit or miss. Furniture and other large items are in slim choice at Goodwill.

WHERE:

Trinity Thrift Store
1224 Union Street
Lafayette, IN 47904

West Lafayette Goodwill
907 Sagamore Parkway West
West Lafayette, IN 47904
(First Saturday of every month is ½ price everything in the store)

salvage yard

Habitat for Humanity
3815 Fortune Dr.
Lafayette, IN 47905

2.      Garage Sales 

community yard sale

PROS: Extremely cheap prices. I’ve found many household items for less than $5 at garage sales. Furniture can be harder to find, but when you do, it’s very cheap. In addition, you can haggle with the owner for a lower price. I rarely have someone turn down a lower offer.

CONS: Again, if you are looking for a very specific item, you might have trouble finding it. You also might have to drive all around town hitting up different sales to get everything you need, and we all know gas isn’t cheap.

WHERE: Check out Tippecanoe CraigslistYard Sale Search, or pick up a Journal and Courier on Friday or Saturday morning for the classifieds.

3.      One Man’s Trash is Your Treasure

one man's trash is another's treasure

There’s a special kind of Senior Week here at Purdue. As graduating students move to full-time jobs in distant cities, there are countless free scores waiting by every dumpster, trash can, and curb side in West Lafayette.

PROS: Well for one, it’s free. But don’t worry; you won’t have to jump inside a dumpster. Many considerate movers will leave their perfectly useable unwanted furniture and appliances in a clean spot beside the dumpster.

CONS: Hey, if you’re willing to jump into a dumpster to dig deeper, I’m not stopping you. You just might get a little messy.

WHERE: Take a stroll or car ride around the student neighborhoods and see what you can find. Large apartment complexes will be overflowing with treasures.

4.      Craigslist

craigslist store front

PROS:  You can shop in your pajamas at home and the seller might even deliver the goods to you. Performing a quick search through the listings is the fastest and easiest way to find a very particular item for cheap. Remember to haggle down the price!

CONS: Setting up a time and place to meet someone for your purchase can be a bit of a pain, especially if they cancel at the last second. “Oh yeah, I forgot had dinner with the in-laws tonight. Can we do tomorrow?”

WHERE: The Lafayette/West Lafayette Tippecanoe Craigslist.

5.      Purdue Surplus

Ever wonder where all those abandoned bikes from campus go? They get shipped off to the Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store in Lafayette! They specialize in old furniture from Purdue buildings, bikes, computers and monitors, and student lost-and-found stuff.

PROS: The prices are extremely cheap. I’ve gotten an exercise bike for $10 and a coffee table for $5 from the warehouse in the past.

CONS: The Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store has odd operating hours – Mon-Fri  12PM-4PM. So if you’re only free on weekends, this option is out.  You also might be purchasing something you once owned.

WHERE:

Purdue Warehouse & Surplus Store
700 Ahlers Dr

West Lafayette, IN 47907

6.      Auctions

world's largest car auction

PROS: Bids on small household items are typically auctioned off by the box-full. Larger items like furniture are bid on individually, usually under $50, as long as it is not an antique.

CONS: Auctions can take up an entire afternoon if the item you want is at the end of the bidding schedule. Many auctions have expensive antiques for sale, making them useless for our purposes.

WHERE: Search online for auctions in the Greater Lafayette area or check the Journal and Courier classifieds section.

7.      Freecycle

Freecycle is an online email community to which you subscribe. Members post free items they have up for grab, from couches to clothes. How it works, you email the member who posted the item to set up a time and place to pick up the item. As a member, you can ask items you need and you will be emailed free offers from other members.

PROS: It’s completely free!

CONS: Freecycle works only through Yahoo! Groups, so if you don’t like to use Yahoo!  E-mail, you can’t use Freecycle. Since everything is free, things go fast. If you don’t have time to keep a watchful eye on the Freecycle emails, you might not move fast enough to get something.

WHERE: The Freecycle Network

It may seem tedious to think through every avenue to save some money on household items. But if you were to save even $100, you’ve paid for at least one textbook.

Is Owning a Car In College Worth It?

8 Jun

Ford Taurus

Having a car in college can lead to some really fun times. Cross country road trips in the summer, getaway weekends and nights out on the town are all easier for students who bring a car to campus. However, maintaining a car as a student probably costs more than you think. So, when is it worth it?

The Privilege of Car Ownership

There are many advantages to owning a vehicle as a college student. First and foremost is the flexibility and freedom a car affords. You’ll no longer be dependent on other drivers when you’re making plans – simply by having a car you have more say in what it you can do and what you want to do.  And, of course, your commute to campus is likely to be a bit shorter; so hitting the snooze button a few times won’t ruin your morning.

Owning a car in college can help you make and save money, too. Since you can commute a little further, you’ll be able to consider a wider selection of off-campus jobs. And with all that carrying capacity, you can tackle a week’s worth of grocery shopping in a single day. If your kitchen is stocked, you’ll cook more and eat out less (and all without hauling groceries on foot or by bus).

Car ownership in college also has benefits beyond daily usage. When you really want to get out of town, having a car will make it happen. This is especially true given how difficult it can be for college students to rent cars at affordable rates.

Important Auto Considerations

gas prices are expensive

Despite all the benefits, however, there are some important financial factors you should consider before you decide to own a car while in college.

Gas is expensive, and it’s going to stay that way. The average car in the U.S. consumes around $1,000 worth of gas each year. If you drive your car regularly, you can probably expect to fill your tank once a week. Before you commit to bringing a car to college you need to determine how much it costs on average to fill the tank and how often you expect you’ll fill it up. If possible, you’ll of course want to bring a car with good gas mileage.

Car insurance is another major cost you’ll need to factor into your budget if you drive during college. Premiums are higher for anyone under the age of 25, whether or not they are enrolled in college. The good news is that, on average,Indiana auto insurance premiums are among the lowest in the country.

You’ll also want to consider the cost of campus parking before bringing your car to school. Here are the Purdue rates for parking permits. You should also make certain you are eligible; this is determined by the distance between your home and the campus.

Finally, when deciding whether or not it’s worthwhile to bring a car to college, you have to budget for damages and repairs. The average car needs just over $400 a year in repairs, not including oil changes. You can save some money changing your own oil and rotating your own tires, assuming you know how to do so safely.

Cost-Effective Alternatives

So what are the alternatives to keeping a car at college? There are a number of great ways to get around in West Lafayette:

  • Public transportation: The bus system in West Lafayette is very interconnected with Purdue. The university is central to the area, meaning the bus system can get you to the campus Lafayette CitBusfrom almost anywhere.
  • Bicycles, skateboards and so on: Bicycling is a great alternative in West Lafayette, and many people make it theirmain mode of transportation. Skateboarding, rollerblading and walking are also options, especially if you live on or close to campus.
  • Zipcar: The local branch of this car sharing service is available to anyone over 18 and caters to Purdue students, faculty and staff.

The Bottom Line

Because car ownership is such a complex financial commitment, you’ll need to do extensive research before you know whether or not it’s a sensible investment. In a nine-month academic year, AAA reports that the average small car costs more than $3,000, including gas, insurance and maintenance; this doesn’t factor in parking costs and non-standard repairs. As a college student, you can’t afford to gloss over such a pricy and impactful decision.

Karla Lant is a life insurance writer for The Simple Dollar. She helps everyday people understand and master life insurance issues and questions. Lant has dealt with related regulatory issues in her work as an attorney and has researched and published on life insurance and estate planning. She has also taught subjects related to life insurance as an adjunct professor – she is currently an adjunct at Northern Arizona University. Here is her Facebook page

How to Have a Successful Move-In Day at Purdue

1 Jun

By Bryttani Watson, Residence Education Coordinator for the Honors College & Residences

MainJourney

move in day gateway-arch.jpgSummer goes by faster than you might imagine, so it’s important to start thinking about move-in before August rolls around. You’ve elected to be a Boilermaker, and to live on campus, which is a wise choice. It’s been proven that those who live on campus adjust to college life and persist to graduation at a higher rate than those who live off campus. All that’s left is to pack your bags, move in, and embark on a wonderful year at Purdue University.

Whether this is your first year living on campus or your fifth, move-in can be busy, and stressful if you’re not prepared. Here are some helpful hints to make your move-in a success:

1. Label Everything. From the box of books to the bags (and bags, and bags) of clothes, label everything with your first initial, last name, and room number. Having your items properly labeled will provide Boiler Gold Rush team leaders (if you’re a first-year student) with the information they need to deliver your belongings to your room, thereby avoiding any doubt or forgetfulness.

2. Pack Light. More than likely, you won’t be able to fit EVERYTHING from home in your new residence hall room, so don’t overdo it.. You shouldn’t need a 26-foot U-Haul. You can stock up on toiletries, snacks, and other necessities after you’ve moved in, so we suggest only bringing the essentials.

3. Review A Campus Map/Download the Purdue App. It’s important to know where you’re going as best as you can. You can check out University Residences’ Facebook page for updates on traffic and construction around town. There will be several signs, police officers, and staff members who can help point you in the right direction if you get turned around.

You can also download the Purdue app on your smartphone. It’s complete with a campus map, access to your myPurdue account and email, and other useful functions, as well.

4. Be Early. Be Patient. With nearly 40,000 students attending Purdue and 13,000 living on campus, West Lafayette and surrounding areas will be busy, so getting in ahead of schedule can’t hurt! Traffic can be horrendous, so try your best to be patient and allow yourself plenty of time to arrive on campus. At the end of the day, you can kick back knowing that you’re all moved in.

5. Eat Breakfast/Lunch Before You Arrive. With the time spent waiting in lines and moving everything into the residence hall, you will be tired and hungry, maybe even hangry. Eat a good meal before embarking on move-in and bring snacks, because before you know it, you’ll have missed second breakfast, lunch, and maybe even diner.

6. You Check-In. Don’t Send Your Parents or Guardian. University Residences needs you to be present. We have a lot of information to give you and it’s not your mom or grandma who will be living with us all year, it’s you! Plus, someone needs to stay with the car.

7. Bring Your ID. Ideally, we ask that you bring your Purdue ID with you, but if you have yet to receive your ID card, a driver’s license or passport will be sufficient. Be sure not to leave your purse or wallet in the car, or worse, pack your ID in a box somewhere.

8. Communicate. If you separate from your parents, make sure you have a game plan for meeting up later. Nothing is more frustrating than a full cart and nobody to tell you what room to go to (although, this shouldn’t be a problem because you labeled all of your items, right? See tip No. 1).

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions. Staff could not be more excited that you are moving in and all they really want to do is help. From resident assistants to hall administrators, we want to make the move-in experience as stress-free and wonderful as possible, so if you need anything, please let us know.

We’ll see you in August!

Loan Repayment Tips for Recent (and not-so-recent) Graduates

25 May

repay-banner

Whether you’re a recent graduate whose loans are just entering repayment or you have been making payments for several years, there is a very real chance that educational loan payments may be causing you a financial hardship. For recent graduates, there is a lot of info covered in federal exit counseling and it would be easy to have missed some of it.  While there isn’t much that can be done about the amount you owe since you’ve already borrowed it, you can still choose from several different options for repayment.  The Institute for College Access and Success created a Top 10 Tips for recent graduates, a handy reference for borrowers.

If you are able to pay more than the minimum on your loans each month you can reduce your payments and total interest that you will pay. If you are able to do this, you might wonder what the best method is. The two best ways to pay down your loans are the snowball and avalanche methods where you pay either the lowest balance or the highest interest rate, respectively. In addition, if you pair this with an income-based repayment plan but still pay the same total amount on your loans you can allocate more toward your loan of choice and pay it down even quicker while having flexibility of a lower minimum payment if life throws you a curve ball.

Unless you chose otherwise, you’re probably enrolled in the Standard Repayment Plan which spreads your payments evenly over 10 years. This is both the default plan as well as the most aggressive repayment option available. However, there are several other options a borrower can choose which can limit the repayment per month to 10% of  discretionary income and reduce payments to as little as zero dollars per month (depending on income). For more information, check out Acacia Squire’s piece in NPR about her experiences and what options may be available to you.

If you have thought about refinancing your student loans, CNBC recommends not to rush into it. While you may be able to get a better interest rate you lose out on any income-based repayment options in the event that your financial situation has any changes. However if your situation is stable and an income-based plan is not in your future, a lower interest rate could save you thousands in interest throughout the life of your loan.

 

Income Share Agreements: Connecting Education to Employment Through Financing

18 May

Completion With a Purpose

Kevin James, Director, Higher Education at Jain Family InstituteBy Kevin James, Director, Higher Education, at Jain Family Institute

For those who may have missed it, in mid-April thousands of ed tech entrepreneurs, investors, educators, philanthropists and other edu-wonks converged on San Diego for the annual ASU-GSV summit. The conference, which first took place seven years ago in 2010, serves as a yearly gathering point for those interested in the latest developments in education technology and related services.

As part of the summit, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on income share agreements (ISAs) that USA Funds®, a sponsor of ASU-GSV, helped to organize.

ISAs are an idea that has been around for decades but has started to get more attention recently as researchers and entrepreneurs seek better alternatives to traditional student debt. Under an ISA, a student receives funds to help pay for school in exchange for agreeing to pay a percentage of his…

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