Archive | September, 2017

Someone Made Unauthorized Charges on My Debit Card

28 Sep

A couple days ago, my wife woke up to an unwelcome surprise: text message alerts from our bank that her debit card was being used to buy prepaid phone cards through several different retailers. As you can imagine, this wasn’t exactly what you want to wake up to at 6:00 in the morning.Unauthorized Debit Charges.png

We watched in anger as we realized it wasn’t just one mistaken purchase and every few minutes a new purchase came through for a higher sum, starting out at $150 and going up to $350.

Immediately after seeing the second purchase we called phone number on the back of our card to report a lost or stolen card. The process was quick and we knew that the card’s information was no longer valid for purchases once completed. However, the culprit kept on trying and we started getting rejected transaction texts for the additional attempts.

While we had stopped any new transactions less than 30 minutes from the first purchase, the thieves had already made over $1,200 in purchases from our checking account. We had stopped them from taking more, but what could we do to get our money back?

Thankfully, due to my experience writing articles about financial literacy I had some ideas about what we could do next.

First things first, we looked up the non-emergency number for our local police and gave them a call to report the issue. Within a few minutes, an officer was at our house and was given a report of everything we knew so far about our information being stolen and the fraudulent charges.

The officer recommended that we contact all of our banks and share the case number with them as well as to keep a very close watch on our accounts. Even though we had to go to work right after this, we still had plenty more to do.

Once our bank opened, we immediately contacted them to make them aware of the fraudulent charges. Two of the purchases had already been stopped thanks to us cancelling the debit card, however there was a third charge for over $300 with a prepaid cell phone company that didn’t get immediately reversed. They recommended we try giving their customer service a phone call and if they wouldn’t return the funds then we would file a dispute through our bank.

Needless to say the customer service at the cell phone company wasn’t very understanding of our situation and didn’t quite grasp that we did not have an account with them. After getting it escalated to a manager, they said there was nothing they could do on their end. Because of this we filed the dispute form with our bank the next day and are waiting for the charges to get overturned.

Since we didn’t know where the thief had gotten our information we were worried that simply cancelling our card and getting a new one might not be enough to protect ourselves.

In the event they also had additional information that could be used to take credit out in our names, we decided that we should take steps to protect ourselves from that. We both registered for a temporary fraud alert with one of the credit reporting agencies as well as placing a security freeze on our accounts.

The temporary fraud alert places a notice on our credit reports for anyone that does a credit check to be aware that they should be sure to confirm information with us for the next 90 days. A side bonus is that it also removes our names and addresses for two years from those annoying pre-screened credit card mailing lists.

The real security measure added was the security freeze. If anyone wishes to take out new credit in our names, they have to provide a PIN number that only we know to allow this to happen. We can also lift the security freeze temporarily or permanently through the credit reporting agencies.

Thankfully as residents of Indiana both of these options were completely free to us, regardless of whether we were already a victim of identity theft or not. However, this varies from state to state and it may cost you a small amount ($5-10) to add or lift the security freeze.

Unfortunately we don’t know, and probably never will, where someone got our debit card information. However we were saved by the fact that we receive texts every time that our card is used. If your bank has an option like this I would highly recommend you take them up on it. We check our account online pretty often, but if we had waited even a few hours to check it we would have been out of luck as the thief had been on pace to drain everything within the day.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, be sure to act fast. With a debit card your ability to recover funds depends on how quickly you report it missing/ stolen. If you report it in under 4 hours from the purchase you should be responsible for $50 or less. However, after that could be $500 if you report before 60 days. If you don’t notice it until after that, you mightn’t be able to get anything back.

I’m not crazy about potentially losing $50 due to a thief, but it’s a far cry better than the thousands they would have stolen had we not been alert to our accounts. Now that the initial surprise and then anger of the situation is over and we’ve stopped the thief, there’s not much we can do except wait for the bank to work our dispute with the company, and be careful with our cards to make sure it doesn’t happen again.


What is Graduate School & Is It Right For Me?

27 Sep

What is graduate school?

Deciding to pursue a graduate education is not a decision to make lightly. Graduate school is a very focused occupation, so it is important to have a clear idea of what you want to study.Grad School Right.png

While an undergraduate education allows you to explore a variety of areas, graduate school dives into the details of a specific topic. You may work closely with one major professor and additional faculty members to design your course of study, particularly if you pursue a PhD.

You may become part of a lab group or research team, and work closely with other students on that team. Often, these students work on similar, but not identical, topics as you.

How do I determine if a graduate school is right for me?

Graduate school requires a lot of commitment, both from you and the people with whom you will be working. Your major professor will invest a great deal of time, energy, and training to help you succeed. Determining the major professor you want to work with is one of the most important decisions you can make.

While the reputation of the school you are considering is important, even more important is the reputation of the program and the professor with whom you want to work. As a full-time student, you will generally commit two years working toward a master’s degree and an additional three to four years working toward a PhD.

You may not necessarily have scheduled school breaks (such as winter, spring, summer, and fall breaks) as vacation. Understanding this ahead of time will prevent some unexpected frustration.

Approach the graduate school process with the same attitude you would approach a job because ultimately, that’s exactly what it is.

When researching various graduate programs, important questions to consider are:

  • Are you going to enjoy working here? Are the people and environment going to encourage and support your best efforts?
  • What are the course offerings and how are they scheduled (i.e., day or night classes)?
  • How many graduate students has your potential major professor had?
  • What is the average length of time it has taken for one of this professor’s students to graduate?
  • What have been the professor’s current students’ experiences and how long have they worked with this professor? How long do they anticipate their degree completion to take? (Talk to the students directly.)
  • What are the expectations and management style of your potential major professor? When does s(he) expect you in the office? Will (s)he be available when you have questions?

Remember that the interview process is a two-way process. Not only is your school of interest trying to determine if you would make a good graduate student, but you should try to determine if your school of interest is going to be a good fit for you!

Where can I go for more information?

Although your best resources of information about potential graduate schools and programs are often your professors, advisors, career services staff, professionals in your field of interest, and peers pursuing graduate study: there are several online resources where you can search for schools and programs that may fit your interests and needs. These include:

The Ice Cream Lesson: How to Know Where Your Money Goes

26 Sep

CouponChief Logo (002)

One student we interviewed lived just down the street from an ice cream shop. Most nights, last call for ice cream was .

Invariably, the student would need to take a break from the books at about , and what better way to do that than to take a brief walk and grab a cone?

Often he would invite a friend or two along and pick up the tab for them too. After all, ice cream isn’t all that expensive.

This student took a personal finance class, though, and part of the coursework was to track all expenditures for one month. When the smoke had cleared and the totals were staring at him, he remembers one thing about that exercise especially well: he had spent over $100 at the ice cream shop. And it was winter term!

You should do the same. No, not eat ice cream every day, but track what you spend for a month. Face the reality.

Here’s how to take your financial snapshot:
  1. Keep it simple. You don’t need to micro analyze your spending. We’re just looking for a clear picture of your overall situation.
  2. Determine when you will begin and when you will stop. Typically, a calendar month works just fine.
  3. Determine how you will track what you spend. A simple approach is to use a debit card or credit card for everyth
    ing. That gives you an online trail. For out-of-pocket expenses, carry a small notebook or a few index cards with you and note any cash expenditures on them.
  4. Determine how you will collect and sort your transactions. Banks offer downloadable statements. Most also allow you to sort online and pull down a specific date range. Bring everything into one spreadsheet or bookkeeping program. You’ll need to add your cash transactions in by hand.
  5. Set up your categories and subcategories. It’s helpful to get somewhat granular here, but don’t knock yourself out. The Food category, for instance, could include subcategories for food purchased at the grocery store, from restaurants, from campus food service, and from miscellaneous sources (that’s how the ice cream shop expenditures were captured and noted).
    The exact methodology you employ will be determined by how much latitude you have in setting up the reports pulled from your bank or credit card companies and whether you use an official bookkeeping program or design your own spreadsheet. Either will work, just remember to keep it simple. The easier it is to do, the more likely you are to stick with the plan.
  6. Record your spending during the period without trying to change anything. You want a true picture. Any changes needed will be duly noted and enlisted later. For now, you only want to get at the truth of the matter: how much are you spending and where is it going?
  7. Once your tracking period has ended, pull down the data, clean it up and confirm it, then be prepared to get your eyes opened a bit wider. If you’ve never taken a financial snapshot, you’re sure to be in for some surprises.

Pencil and paper
Here’s one more saying that’s been passed down through generations: “Watch your dimes and your dollars will take care of themselves.”

Most of us will listen up when the discussion is about hundreds or thousands of dollars, but our interest dwindles when the amount seems piddling.

One of our students told a story about waking up in her dorm room to see her roommate unwadding a small pile of dollar bills. They had been laying on our student’s desk.

Noticing she had awakened, the roommate looked sternly at her and said, “Do you know money will take you anyplace you want to go – and you treat it like this?”

It was an impactful lesson in respect. Those who take good care of a little may soon find themselves in possession of a lot.

This is tip #10 of’s 10 Top Ways Students Can Have More Money This School Year. Be sure to check out the rest of their tips for ways to save and make money throughout the school year!

How I Started to Coupon & Save Big!

21 Sep

Aubrey Rennick, Hospitality Major at Purdue – Class of 2019

Couponing First Haul.png

I was asked to write a little about my adventure into couponing after posting this picture of my first “haul” over the weekend.

I think couponing is great for anyone who wants to save even the smallest amount. If you can save a few dollars every week, you potentially can save more than you ever thought in six months or a year. As a college student, I know what it is like to be tight on money, and I wanted to find a way to save money wherever I could.

I have always been fascinated by the extreme couponers that you see on T.V. who save hundreds of dollars in one trip. I decided to follow some couponing pages on Facebook, and I chose to stick to Dollar General pages because I had read that it was easier to follow than trying to start out at Walmart or CVS.

It took me a long time to try and understand all of the lingo being used on the page. Dollar General has an app that you can use digital coupons allowing you to simply clip the coupons on the app, then type in your number at checkout to apply the coupons. I started there because I was not subscribed to a newspaper, so I did not have access the paper coupons but I eventually learned you can print out coupons!

I have only been doing this for a few weeks, and I still have so much more to learn. There are so many rules and different ways that coupons will work. I subscribed to a newspaper and started asking people I knew if I could have their coupons inserts. That is how people get so much stuff, they have a lot of coupons.

My first two trips to Dollar General resulted in me saving money, but I still spent well over $10. I made it my goal to try and get as close to $0 as I could get. I rounded up coupons and studied what other people were doing on the Facebook pages. I learned that certain coupons give you “overage” which means the coupon value exceeds the value of the product you are buying.

I went to one Dollar General only to find that they had about half of the items I was looking for. I still managed to save over $40 and bring my balance down to $5 AFTER taxes.

I decided to hit up another store location, and found all but one of the items. I saved over $45 on that trip, and actually had a NEGATIVE balance.

This meant I could get some other things I wanted/needed for free to get my balance above 0. I was so happy and proud that I had figured out how to start somewhere.

As far as what items I am looking for, I am limited when it comes to coupons. Most of the time it is household products. There will hardly ever be any food deals besides candy and snacks.

I know a lot of the stuff I got on my big haul I personally will not use. I plan on donating items to women’s shelters, disaster relief, or animal shelters. Big things I am going to keep an eye out for are things like toilet paper, paper towels, and toothpaste. These are things that I use daily and can end up being pricey when you start adding it up!

Eat Healthy-Even on a College Budget

19 Sep

Heather Kessler, Purdue University Alumna


Is it really possible to eat healthy while on a small college budget? There are many guides on the internet offering advice on this topic. I’ve gone ahead and broken down a few of the most common suggestions.

1)      Always have low-budget healthy staples on hand.  This is just a small list of what can be helpful to have in the pantry or fridge at all times.

list of healthy foods

2)      Have a plan before you shop.

  • Check to see what is on sale that week at local grocery stores, and what coupons are available
  • Make a menu for the next week (or two)
  • See what you already have in stock in your kitchen
  • Make a list of the other items you need
  • Stick to that list while shopping for items
  • Try to stay around the perimeter of the grocery store as this is where the healthy produce tends to be.  The aisles usually contain items that have been processed and are not very healthy.

grocery store producs

3)      If you struggle with buying more when you have a card, plan how much you are willing to spend ahead of time and get just that amount in cash.  This will help you keep to your pre-determined budget and be less likely to overspend.

4)      For fruits and vegetables try to stick with what is in season and on sale, as it will keep the prices down.  Frozen vegetables are also good to use and will keep longer (and can usually be found at lower prices than fresh vegetables).  Canned is okay, but they tend to use more preservatives in the canning process.

5)      For lean protein on a budget, try to stay with white meats.  Chicken and turkey are both great options.  If you are willing to spend a little more money, salmon or tilapia offer wonderful health benefits.

6)      Whole grains offer the most nutrition for the dollar with items such as bread or pasta.  Try to avoid white bread and pasta since they are processed and most of their nutrients have been taken out.

Try not to waste any of the food you have, you invested good money into those items and they should be used.  If you need ideas on different entrees to make with the same ingredients Pinterest or The Food Network have many different ideas and they are easy to navigate through.  Here’s to healthy eating and more money in your bank account!

Renter’s Insurance: Pros & Cons

14 Sep

Chris Bibey is the founder of, a website providing personal finance advice from the pros.

No matter if you are renting an apartment as a college student, or a single family home as a young professional, you are going to have many financial decisions staring you in the face.

Renters insuranceOne of the most important questions you have to answer is this: Should I purchase renter’s insurance or opt against this coverage for the time being?

Like any sort of insurance policy, you need to compare the pros and cons to ensure that you are making the right choice. Upon doing so, you will have a better idea of how to move forward.


Most people soon find that the advantages of buying renter’s insurance greatly outweigh any perceived downfalls. Here are several benefits you don’t want to overlook:

  • It is affordable. While home insurance can often times be expensive, this is not the case with a renter’s policy. For approximately $10-$15 per month, you can receive up to $50,000 of personal property coverage. These numbers are rough estimates, but give you a good idea of just how affordable a policy can be.
  • The ability to add liability coverage. In addition to coverage for your personal property, liability protection is a big deal. For instance, if somebody is hurt on your property or your dog decides to bite a neighbor, you will be protected.
  • It’s easy to obtain: Plenty of companies offering high quality renter’s insurance. Regardless of where you live, you won’t have a difficult time finding an agent who can provide you with the policy you are looking for. Investigate your current auto or life insurer, they too can have renter’s insurance policies and bundling insurance policies could save you more money.


Generally speaking, there are not many disadvantages of renter’s insurance. However, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Deductible: Like any insurance policy, there will be a deductible attached to this coverage. This is the amount you will pay out of your own pocket before your policy kicks in.
  • Another monthly expense: Although renter’s insurance doesn’t cost a lot, this is an expense you have to add to your budget. Can you afford it?

Now that you understand the pros and cons of renter’s insurance, it is time to decide if it is right for you.

For those impacted by recent natural disasters, those with renter’s insurance can reclaim some of the value of their lost property. For those without, they will have to rely on other means. While hurricanes aren’t likely to inundate West Lafayette any time soon, insuring your belongings against theft, fire, and our own natural disaster tornadoes is almost certainly worth your while.

If you rent an apartment or home, this is a relatively cheap type of policy that can provide you with personal property and liability protection. Most agree that carrying some sort of coverage would be in their best interest. How do you feel about this?

Industrial Roundtable This Week!

11 Sep

The annual Industrial Roundtable is happening this week! The Industrial Roundtable is a two-day job fair that attracts around 400 companies and over 10,000 Purdue students, making it one of the largest student-run job fairs in the country.

This is the perfect opportunity to meet face-to-face with companies looking to hire students like you for internships, co-ops, and even full-time positions!

Whether you are a graduating senior or a new freshman, this is for everyone to find opportunities. Even for those who are not involved in Engineering the companies present often are hiring for other positions as well.

With a little preparation and information, you can be on the way to finding the perfect opportunity to gain a crucial internship or even set yourself up with a job for after college.

Company Seminars

If you have any companies that you are specifically interested in, be sure to make time for their company seminar in the Stewart Center. These are happening TODAY and are a great time to learn more about specific opportunities, company culture, and ask questions in a 50-minute session.

Believe it or not, there are 116 different company sessions today in the Stewart Center with start times ranging from 1:30 p.m. through 7:30 p.m.

So stop by, learn from and network with representatives from a potential employer!

Preparing for the Industrial Roundtable

This isn’t some high school job fair, this is the real deal. There isn’t much time before it starts tomorrow, so here is a list of what you need to do:

  1. Reach out to your professors that have courses during the time you plan on attending the Roundtables. They may not permit you to miss class for this and, if so, you’ll need to adjust your plans for how many employers you wish to meet with.
  2. Do your homework on the companies. Yes, these companies are coming to us, but these are major companies that potential employees flock to. It’s a little bit of a treat and a huge compliment that they are coming to Purdue University.
    So return the favor. Look them up, check out their website and see any related news to them. See what they are doing, what their motto is, what breaking discoveries or products they have come out with, are they particularly proud of something, etc.
    Make sure you go into the Industrial Roundtable knowing the company and their representatives. Someone who is excited about what the company is doing will stand out over someone just looking for a job. The Industrial Roundtable website has a list of all the employers coming.
  3. Prep your résumé and bring multiple copies of it with you. Recruiters will be seeing dozens, or even hundreds, of students during the day so give them something to remember you by.
    Now is the time to stand out and make a statement. Our campus has the Center for Career Opportunities (CCO) with trained employees who are more than happy to help you with your résumé in order to stand out from the crowd.
    They can also help you with two other often forgotten aspects: a cover letter, and a follow up letter. It’s up to your discretion if you would need a cover letter, but you should always do a follow-up letter.
  4. Prepare your two minute speech. You likely have two minutes (or less) to make a lasting impression of yourself. And you need to sell yourself. Now is not the time to be humble.
    If you got it, own it and flaunt it.
    Make sure to check both the CCO website and the Industrial Roundtable website as often times, they list tips on which questions you should be prepared to answer.
  5. Dress to impress. This is the real deal and it’s business professional. Be prepared for suits and blazers. If at all possible, don’t take your back pack as it can ruin the look and can make an awkward two-minute speech.
    Recruiters are looking for professionals, so make it easy to see you as one. Many employers won’t even consider someone who can’t look the part. Also, a good outfit is just one more way to stand out.
  6. Make a schedule. Industrial Roundtable tends to have loads of recruiters, representing tons of companies, and typically a pretty sizeable amount of the student population will also attend. It would be impossible to meet with every company and don’t forget you also have classes that you may not be able to/should not skip. So make a list of top ten companies that your experience and background will most likely align with. Be sure to not pick all huge companies or all really popular ones as these will be the busiest and you may only get to two. Be prepared to stand in lines as well.
  7. Make a schedule. Industrial Roundtable tends to have loads of recruiters, representing tons of companies, and typically a pretty sizable amount of the student population will also attend.
    It would be impossible to meet with every company, and don’t forget you also have classes that you may not be able to/should not skip. So make a list of top ten companies that your experience and background will most likely align with.
    Be sure to not pick all huge companies or all really popular ones as these will be the busiest and you may only get to two. Be prepared to stand in lines as well.
  8. Get contact and follow-up info! Remember that these recruiters see tons of people in one day. Having their name and contact info can help you take the initiative. A nice hint is that after you walk away with your card, write what you talked about on it so in your follow-up email or thank-you letter you can reference the conversation and bring you back into their mind more clearly.
  9. Be prepared if any future offers come your way! Think of what your priorities are when it comes to jobs. Is the salary your main concern? What about location, benefits packages, or company size? Knowing what’s important to you helps make the decision much easier.

The biggest thing you should take away from this is that you need to prep and get ready. This is a tremendous opportunity that you don’t want to miss.

Even if you don’t feel like you would get a position, go anyway! You never know what might happen.

Practice your communication skills, networking, and preparing your résumé. Just make sure you get ready for it because the companies will be ready for you.

Remember that each interview is a completely fresh start. If you stumbled on words last time, the next one is your opportunity to give the perfect delivery.

5 Habits of Successful Student Loan Borrowers

7 Sep

In 2015 student loan servicer Navient completed a study to analyze the behaviors of 6.8 million former students who are successfully managing their student loan payments.

They concluded that there are 5 key habits to staying on track to student loan payoff.

Don’t Put It Off5 Habits 22.jpg

Student loans have several options for deferment and forbearance that can be utilized if your circumstances necessitate taking a break from payments. If your situation is difficult they can work with you to help reduce your payments or even put them on pause. However, they recommend not doing so unless it is truly necessary.

By keeping deferments and forbearances to a minimum, you can reduce the total cost of your loan and shorten the total time that you are repaying it!

Borrowers who use less than six months of forbearance are almost twice as likely to successfully repay than those who take longer postponements. If you need it, use it! Just remember that the loan will still be there when the forbearance ends and you’ll need a plan to repay it then!

Stay Connected

Borrowers who track their progress tend to be more successful in repaying their loans. Just by checking in regularly into your online student loan account can help you stay on track of your loans. It makes you more aware of your current balance, allows you to explore and renew payment plans, and gives you valuable tax information in addition to other useful tools they provide.

Also be sure to provide your servicer with up-to-date contact information so that any communication they send you reaches you in a timely manner! You never know when a time-sensitive document may be on its way.


Nothing is more important to getting a return on your educational investment than graduating! 

When you’re still in school, maximize your meetings with your advisor and take 15+ credits per semester to graduate on-time! Extra years in college cost over $138,000 in lost wages, retirement savings and your tuition for the same degree.

However, even for those who didn’t graduate with a degree successful repayment can still be within reach. If college is still in your future, come up with a plan on how you will pay for your degree (including all portions of the Cost of Attendance) to help ensure you graduate and prevent any surprises while you’re still in college.

Stick with Repayment

the longer that you can make payments on your student loans, the more likely you are to successfully repay them. Even when times are tough, continuing to make even small payments is an important factor in completing your repayment.

Whether it on the standard repayment plan, or one of the income-driven plans available, even a small percentage of your discretionary income can keep you on-track with your repayment. Missed payments will damage your credit and cost you more over the life of the loan. 

Talk to Your Servicer

Your student loan servicer is there to help answer your questions and get you through your repayment successfully. Borrowers who reach out with their questions tend to be more successful with their repayment.

9 times of 10, Navient finds that when they talk to a federal loan customer they can help them avoid default and enter into an affordable payment plan. 

If you have any concerns about missing payments, details or enrolling in different payment plans, or just general questions about your loans, engage with your servicer!

Source: 5 Habits of Successful Student Loan Borrowers, Navient Solutions, Inc.

The FAFSA Opens Oct 1st!

5 Sep

Getting you through FAFSA, one question at a time.FAFSAQs


  • Who

    • Who Should File a FAFSA?
      If you are interested in getting any Federal Financial Aid, including federal direct loans, you need to file the FAFSA at to become eligible. Federal loans are almost always preferable to private loans. In addition, many colleges’ need-based scholarships rely on FAFSA information to verify that you are eligible. In short, everyone should file the FAFSA – even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any federal aid.


    • Whose Information is Needed to File a FAFSA?
      This answer depends on if you are a dependent student or not. Unsure if you’re Dependent or Independent? Check here. (Note: this is not the same as being independent for tax filing)
      Dependent students: You need tax information for both you AND your parents. If your parents are divorced, you need the information on whoever you receive the most support (51%) from.Independent students: You only need your own information unless you are married. If so, you will need your spouse’s information as well.
  • What



    • What If Things Change After I File The FAFSA?
      If your family situation has a significant change after you’ve filed your FAFSA, and any time while you’re in school, stop by your Financial Aid office to see if you qualify for a “special circumstance”. These could include job loss, divorce, death of a parent, child birth, or other unexpected situations that impact your financial status.


    • What Types of Federal Financial Aid are there?
      There are three main types of financial aid:
      1. Grants & Scholarships— Federal Pell Grants do not have to be repaid and are sometimes referred to as “gift aid”. Grants are similar to scholarships, except that they are often for those who demonstrate financial need, where scholarships can be either merit-based or need-based.
      2. Student Loans — This is the type you hear about most often. Filling out the FAFSA is required to be eligible for Federal Direct loans. Federal loans are almost always preferable to private loans from lending institutions, because they have fixed interest rates and flexible repayment options. Keep in mind that there are limits on how much you can borrow in a year as well as in your lifetime.
      3. Federal Work Study (FWS) — Work Study may provide you with more opportunities to find on-campus jobs. Rather than being given the funds in the beginning of the semester like loans and grants, FWS earnings are distributed to you as part of your paycheck. Tips on finding a job around the Purdue campus and the difference between Work Study and non-Work Study jobs.
  • Where


    • Where Do I Get the School Code and FSA ID?
      You’ll need the school code for whatever schools you are interested in applying to. They are available here. Your FSA ID is used to login and electronically sign your FAFSA. Set it up at here. Purdue’s school code is 001825.


    • Where Do I Get Help?
      College Goal Sunday will be held on Sunday, November 5th in Indiana and it provides FREE FAFSA filing assistance. It is at Ivy Tech in West Lafayette, but to find a location near you in one of the participating 42 states, go to You can always call the Financial Aid office of your prospective school to ask questions as well.
  • When

    • When Can I start the FAFSA?
      You can begin the FAFSA any time after October 1st of the year before you plan to attend college. So if plan to be in college for the 2018-19 school year, you can start your FAFSA on October 1, 2017. The FAFSA uses the student/parent tax information from the previous year of when you file. If you are filling out for the 2018-19 school year you’ll use your 2016 tax info. Keep in mind that while you use your 2016 tax information, the rest of the questions are meant to reflect your situation the day that you file. You can estimate the required information to beat a college priority filing date, but the info must be corrected after the taxes are complete!


    • When is the FAFSA Due?
      If you are a Purdue student, the FAFSA priority filing date is March 1st, so be sure to have it done by then! Other colleges (and states) have their own priority dates. Check for deadlines here.
  • How

    • How Do I Get my Financial Aid?
      Your financial aid is sent directly to your school and they will apply it directly toward your billing and send any excess aid to you to be used for books and other education related expenses. The exception is Work Study which needs to be earned by working, and is paid via a paycheck.


    • How Much is the Maximum That Can be Borrowed?
      Most students don’t know this, but there is a maximum amount of Federal Loans you can take out each year. There is also a maximum amount you can take throughout your college career! Check out the chart below for annual and lifetime limits.If you take the maximum amount for four years, there won’t be as much left for a fifth year if needed.

      Plan ahead!

      Remember: Everything you borrow you will have to pay back with interest for the next 10 (or more) years. For every $5,000 you borrow at 6% interest, you pay back $6,661.23 over 10 years ($55.51/ month).


  • Why Should I Do a FAFSA?
    Other than qualifying for grants and Federal Loans? Many state grants and institutional scholarships require FAFSA information submitted. Even if you aren’t sure, it is always worth submitting!


    • FAFSA-brw-chart
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