Archive | April, 2017

Save Money & Time: Take 15 Credits!

28 Apr

Casey Doten, Financial Aid Administrator

One of the best things you can do for yourself in college is keeping yourself on track to graduate on time. Only 3 in 10 students in Indiana finishing their Bachelor’s degree within 4 years and that creates financial challenges for students who fall behind on graduation. Not averaging 15 credits per semester puts you off of a 4 year graduation plan which comes with a host of potential issues.

15 to finish Purdue.jpg

First and foremost is the cost of attending one extra year of college. An extra year at Purdue costs an extra $10,002 for in-state tuition ($28,804 for nonresident). Not to mention the costs of housing, food, books and other school supplies, and the cost of travelling home a few times per year. All in all, the estimated cost to be a Purdue student is $23,032 each year ($41,994 for nonresidents). That’s a lot of extra money to spend for the same degree that can be obtained in four years.

Remember: tuition at Purdue is at a flat rate for anyone taking 8 or more credits hours, so whether you’re attending part-time with 8 credits or are registered for 18 credits, the cost is the same!

If the extra tuition expenses isn’t enough of a downside for taking more than 4 years, the extra year lost also gives a couple other undesirable effects:

More time for student loan interest to accrue:
If you had borrowed all the $27,000 available to you in Federal Direct Loans for your first four years your balance on those loans would increase from $1,080 with an extra year of interest to accrue (assuming a 4% interest rate). This isn’t even considering any extra borrowing for the additional time or the interest that accrues during the repayment portion of the loan.

Lost wages and retirement: NerdWallet recently did a study into the impact of taking extra years to graduate. One extra year would result in approximately $46,355 in lost income and $82,074 in lost lifetime retirement savings!

Adding up the tuition paid, lost wages and retirement savings equals an incredible $138,431 for the extra year to get the degree ($157,233 for nonresident). Obviously this is not an ideal situation, so here are some tips to help keep you on track for graduating in four years!

So what can you do?

Take 15 credits every semester! Almost all degree require 120 credits which smoothly divides into eight semesters of 15 credits. While it might be tempting to take less credits your first semester or two, you’ll have to make those up another semester which you may regret when you’re taking those extra credits along with upper-level courses. Plus, students who start out at 15 credits per semester are more likely to graduate.

It may be obvious, but it’s important to pass your classes and earn grades that allow them to count for requirements. Many courses in your major or that you need for pre-reqs require you to earn Cs or higher to count. So contrary to what people may say, Ds do not really get degrees.

If you’ve fallen off the 15 credits per semester average, you can make either make it up during the summer or by taking extra credits in a fall/ spring semester. If the idea of taking 18 credits is a turn off, plan on taking summer courses! You can receive scholarships through both the financial aid office and the Think Summer office if you qualify.

College survival guide!

26 Apr

Useful tips from a student on the little things you can do to help yourself out in college!

My life book

I recently started college, this being my second semester. My first few weeks I kept thinking how great it was that I had friends there who let me in on all the secrets and made my time so much easier. Consequently, this post is for all of you that don’t have friends in college or you’re just afraid to ask for advice.

  • Socialize

Your first days you might feel like sitting in a corner not making eye contact with anyone. Don’t. Say hi. You are in the same school you do have things in common. It’s way easier to start a conversation!

  • Keep contacts

Getting a name isn’t enough. Facebook,twitter,phone,mail etc. Always ask for contact information. When you’ll miss class and are in desperate need of notes you’ll be greatfull you kept their numbers.

  • Utilize your agenda

Whether it’s digital or not use your agenda for everything. Homework, meetings, parties…

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6 Easy Money Saving Tips Any Student Can Use

20 Apr

Jim Wang, Wallet Hacks
wallethacks.com

College is a fantastic time of exploration, freedom, and growth.

It’s also a time when many of our habits are formed, especially those about money and saving. These habits can have a ripple effect on your life so solidifying a few good practices today can help you better manage the future.

I have a list of 40+ money tips for college students, which cover the basics like emergency funds and budgeting, but today I wanted to share an extra set of just money saving tips every college student needs.6 Easy Money Saving Tips

Avoid credit card debt at all costs

It’s so easy to charge everything to plastic. Whether it’s textbooks, equipment, or a pizza, make sure that you pay off your credit card bill in full each month.

It’s so tempting to pay the minimum and push the debt off another month, but that will result in you paying hundreds of dollars (if not more!) in interest for nothing. If you don’t believe me, you can use this calculator to do the math yourself and find out how much that $20 pizza will cost you!

That’s money you can use to save for your retirement, for a new car, or your first house. Avoiding debt, especially high interest credit card debt, is priority number one after graduation.

Start budgeting

Budgeting isn’t the most fun thing to do but getting in the habit early is a good idea. When you budget, you have a better sense of where your money is going.

You can use tools like Mint or Personal Capital to help automate the process and when you’re older, you’ll appreciate the wealth of historic information you’re recording now.

Cook more, eat out less

Your studies and your social activities will probably take up a big chunk of your time, so you’ll be tempted to eat out more than you cook if you’re not on a university meal plan.

Resist the temptation! Eating at a restaurant, even a quick service one, is far more expensive than cooking at home. In the beginning, you’ll be terrible at it. Everyone is.

But stick with it and try to cook as much as you can. It’s healthier, cheaper, and you’ll get better the more often you do it.

Take advantage of student discounts

Businesses give student discounts all the time. They know that students don’t make a lot of money and they still want your business, so they’re willing to give you a break if they know you’re a student.

Always keep your student ID on you and ask if a student discount is available – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Use your student loan for tuition only!

Some student loans are deposited directly into your student account and some are deposited directly into your bank account. If you have one of the latter, do not use the money for anything other than tuition and school related expenses.

If you have no other choice, you can use it on necessities but your goal should be to avoid debt as much as possible. Sometimes you don’t have any other options, and that’s understandable, but make sure before you saddle yourself with student debt.

Earn a little cash in your spare time

We all have downtime during the day and on weekends – try to find a way to turn that time into money.

Whether it’s taking on a side gig, earning some cash online through surveys, or something bigger – building a side hustle that earns a little extra money can pay dividends in the long run. There are a lot of sites online that will pay you money for small segments of work, or gigs, and you can easily finish them in 5-15 minutes of down time.

Jim Wang writes about money on his personal finance blog, Wallet Hacks. Get his strategies and tactics for getting ahead financially and in life by joining his free newsletter.

 

Top 5 Things This Financial Aid Counselor Wants You to Know

13 Apr

 

Whether you are an incoming freshman or a returning senior, financial aid can be confusing. As financial aid counselors, there are things we really want all students to know. Here are the top five things this financial aid counselor wants you to know.

There is a limit to how much financial aid you can receive.

Every school will give you something along the lines of an “Estimated Cost of Attendance” or “Budget.” This is your limit on financial aid at your university and students cannot have financial aid over this amount. This amount will vary at different universities because it takes into account your tuition, room and board, and other estimated expenses that are specific to each university.5 Fin Aid things.jpg

There is a difference between your Estimated Cost of Attendance and your bill.

Your Cost of Attendance is a term that is interchangeable with ‘budget.’ It will include estimated costs for expenses like books and supplies, transportation, housing and food, miscellaneous costs, etc. . (Consider either using all double quotations or single quotations. Double quotations are used above for “Estimated Cost of Attendance” and “Budget” – which is also capitalized – but single quotations are used here for ‘budget’ – which is also lowercase in this instance.)

The university is not going to bill you for estimated miscellaneous costs. If you’re not living on campus, you will not be billed the amount for ‘room and board’ (quotes) on your Estimated Cost of Attendance. Your budget is a list of estimated expenses you may have for the year. Your bill is what you will actually owe. Your budget doubles as your financial aid limit, as mentioned previously, but it’s also a way for you to “budget” (quotes) for expenses that may pop up during the year.  In actuality, your bill will only be tuition and fees (and housing and food if you stay in a dormitory).

Financial aid counselors want you to understand this difference because we often see students taking out loans to cover their entire budget. In reality, these students could have saved themselves thousands of dollars had they known they wouldn’t be billed for their entire Cost of Attendance.

You can get a refund.

So why does your Cost of Attendance/budget even bother to include expenses you won’t be directly billed for? The answer is simple. It’s so you can get financial aid to help cover extra expenses, and this is done with a refund.

Since your budget includes costs like miscellaneous expenses, you may find that you have a budget of $20,000 when you only have a bill of $17,000. This means you potentially have financial aid $3,000 in excess of what you need to cover your bill. In a situation like this, the Bursar’s Office will issue you a refund check. This refund can be used to help cover any of your academic expenses that you won’t be automatically billed for such as: books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. If you are staying off campus in an apartment, fraternity, or sorority, instead of living in a dormitory, this refund can also be used to help cover your off-campus rent.

Your grades really matter.

Believe it or not, grades actually matter when it comes to financial aid. Students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to remain eligible for financial aid. SAP is measured at the end of every semester, even if you didn’t take classes, and Purdue notifies you by email of your new SAP status. Purdue’s SAP Policy can be found online on the Division of Financial Aid website.

There are no dumb questions.

We are here to help! We understand that financial aid is very confusing, especially if you are brand new student. It’s our job to answer any financial aid questions or help explain things that may seem confusing. Above all, we hate seeing a little issue turn into a big issue just because a student was scared or embarrassed to ask us a question. We’ll be excited that you are seeking more information, and you’ll never know unless you ask.

Are you a student at Purdue who has questions about financial aid? Please feel free to contact the Division of Financial Aid via email or phone.

Future Generations Will Struggle with Finances Without Intervention, Purdue economic education expert says

11 Apr

Unless there’s some type of intervention, it’s likely future generations will continue to face the same financial struggles that many Americans experience today, according to an economic education expert at Purdue University.

It’s a gloomy forecast. Adults are now in more debt than they were during the recession about 10 years ago, and unprepared for retirement — or even a $400 emergency, according to a Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances.

With April recognized as National Financial Literacy Month, it’s a good time to assess whether we’re doing an adequate job of teaching children about finances and money management, said Jeff Sanson, executive director of the Indiana Council for Economic Education (ICEE) at Purdue University’s Department of Agriculture Economics.

“If you want to thrive and survive in our economy, you need a level of financial literacy to enable you to make sound decisions as well as avoid becoming a victim of a financial mistake or misstep,” Sanson said. “You can mitigate many of those mistakes if you can put together a sound financial plan.”

Sanson said, it’s important to build a foundation early. “As soon as a kid knows to ask for something, even if it’s candy or a toy, you can start having conversations about finances,” he said. “It could be as simple as helping them understand that there is a limited amount of resources and how to prioritize what they want. Maybe they want two things. Help them understand the importance of making choices.”

As part of ICEE, Sanson assists teachers throughout Indiana with economic education programs designed to reach K-12 students. Each year, ICEE offers workshops for teachers as well as provides innovative ways for them to help students learn economics, personal finance and entrepreneurship.

The organization also hosts economic camps for teachers and students, economic competitions for students, and hands-on games and lesson plans for classrooms.

One of its most recent initiatives is an app that helps elementary school students learn economics and entrepreneurship through scenarios guided by Herschel, a feisty puppet dog who still has a lot to learn when it comes to money matters. The app is part of the KidsEcon Project, a series of DVDs, books, teaching guides available through ICEE.

“We don’t talk about money matters enough with kids,” Sanson said. “There’s clear evidence that financial literacy and economic literacy are marginalized because of other instructional mandates.

“However, financial literacy is critical. Students need to understand the importance of how a college education or other training beyond high school can help them get into specific careers, as well as the importance of managing the funds they earn,” he added.

Sanson noted that those lessons can be difficult to teach in an engaging and relevant way for kids. He said many teachers often lack the resources required to support those programs in the classroom, while many parents and caregivers consider those types of conversations tough because of their own issues with finances.

“It’s a very personal subject,” said Sanson, pointing to one study that revealed that even teachers have reported being uncomfortable with their own financial literacy even though they were required to teach it.

“Americans, in general, struggle with this topic,” he said. “I think people struggle with talking about money because they’re not comfortable with their own level of knowledge. They may not be making the best spending decisions so there’s reticence in starting those conversations.”

He also noted that families tend to be private about their income or how they’re doing financially. Even with that, parents can have discussions that can help their children understand income is not unlimited.

“Parents are constantly making choices for the family,” he noted. “Include children in those conversations. Have a monthly meeting in which you’re discussing the budget for the household — outlining short-, medium- and long-term goals.”

Those conversations can include plans for a summer vacation, and the ways that the family can cut expenses elsewhere to make the vacation a reality, Sanson said. Those same lessons could apply for a household item like a big-screen television. “Demonstrate good examples for kids to follow without weighing them down with discussions on how they’re going to be short on bills this month.”

In Indiana, personal finance instruction, which includes the topics of earning income, savings, budgeting, money management, insurance, credit and borrowing, has been mandatory for middle school and high school students since 2009.

However, Sanson points out, “while about half the schools go as far as to require students to take the personal finance course, there is no state course requirement.”  According to the national Council for Economic Education’s 2016 Survey of the States, only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course prior to graduation.

“No one is saying it’s not important,” Sanson added. “It’s just not at the top of the priority list.”

Educational support materials, including assessments, guides, curriculum, and apps, are available through ICEE at www.econed-in.org/resources.asp.

Source: Jeff Sanson, jjsanson@purdue.edu, (765) 494-0188

Writer: Shari Finnell, sfinnell@purdue.edu, (765) 494-2722

Agricultural Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Shari Finnell, Manager/Media Relations and Public Information, sfinnell@purdue.edu
Agriculture News Page

Thinking Summer?

6 Apr

ThinkingSummer Blog.jpg
April is upon us and that means summer is closer than you think. Even with a bunch of projects and finals between now and then, it’s a perfect time to start preparing for the summer!

If your plans were to kick your feet back and finally get some time to relax, that’s great… Except you’re probably going to be incredibly bored after a week of nothing. So, here’s a handful of ideas on how to spend your summer:

Take Classes

Using your summer to take courses isn’t exactly the coolest sounding thing to do, but being able to graduate a semester or two earlier gets you that much closer to making real money. Worried about the bill for summer classes? You are able to use financial aid to cover it!

Be sure to fill out the Summer Aid Application on your myPurdue account. Without the summer aid application, the Financial Aid office won’t create an aid package for you even if you’re enrolled in classes. You can fill the application out whether you are taking classes on-campus, online, or for study abroad!THINKSUMMERLOGO

In addition to the Financial Aid office’s aid, if this will be your first time taking summer courses or you are a going to be able to graduate in August, you should check out the ThinkSummer website for the Summer Stay and Summer Finish scholarship applications.

Get a Job

Another classic summer option that might make your parents proud: get a job! Due to the large-scale migration out of West Lafayette in the summer there are plenty of job openings both on and around campus. Check out either the Financial Aid or Student Employment job boards to see what’s open and apply ahead of time.

The summer is prime time to find a job that can net you full days of hours which in turn can make a nice paycheck. If you spend the money you earn wisely, you can set yourself up with a nice savings safety net, reduce your student debt, or even have a little fun with a big purchase you haven’t had the funds for.

Get outdoors

Besides working and class, don’t forget to have some fun! Summer represents the prime months to enjoy the outdoors around West Lafayette. Whether you’re looking to get out and hike in the parks, visit the Wolf Park, or local Prophetstown State Park there’s plenty to do. So pause Netflix for an afternoon and do something you wish you could’ve been doing during the winter!

PSA: The State Street Project

Remember that State Street is going to be worked on continuously throughout the summer. As it’s the main route cutting through campus, you’re probably best off if you can find ways to avoid it entirely. If not, just check out http://statestreetwl.com/ to see what sections are currently open and what the current traffic conditions are.

 

Job Searching: Which Jobs to Apply For?

5 Apr

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!

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