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Keep Student Loan Debt Minimal
Kansas Wesleyan University is proud to share with you that in the year 2011, the average KWU Graduate had $29,900 in Federal Student Loan debt. We work to keep that number as low as possible.
Some students do not have to borrow at all, but most do. Therefore, the Student Financial Planning Office wants you to be aware that financial strategic planning is essential to graduate with the lowest student loan debt possible:
- Graduate on time!
- Make a Budget, and...
- Follow it.
- Know your Loan Servicer
- Search for Scholarships every year! Here is a list of scholarship opportunities!
GRADUATE ON TIME
Work with your Academic Advisor and the Registrar’s office to be sure that you are taking the right classes at the right time to graduate in four years. For each additional year of undergraduate education, you are investing not only additional tuition dollars, but also forgoing wages at your post-graduation career! The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities put out the following information regarding graduation and the cost of tuition:
MAKE A BUDGET, AND FOLLOW IT.
In addition to your direct expenses (tuition, fees, room, board, and books), you will also have numerous personal indirect expenses that you must include in your budget. These items include such things as laundry, clothing, dates, movies, dining out, medical, shampoo, toothpaste, transportation home for holidays, etc.
- Buy clothes that do not require dry-cleaning.
- Accessories can update an outdated wardrobe for less money than buying a new wardrobe.
- Take advantage of sales, especially “after Christmas”. Many things are half price then.
- Plan your wardrobe. Buy only what will compliment or extend it. Don’t get caught up in the latest fads. When the fad is gone, you will have brand-new outdated clothing.
- Buy quality shoes that feel good on your feet.
- Shop around. Compare prices. Discount and department stores are less expensive than small specialty shops. Shop at a discount store and look for quality – it’s there.
- Check the label and find out how to take care of it.
- Keep away from the vending machines. Fruit from the store will save you a lot of money.
- If your food is already paid for at the dorm, eat meals there and avoid eating out several times a week. When you eat at a restaurant, you are really paying for two meals, the one back at the dorm plus the restaurant meal.
If you live in an apartment. . .
- Avoid every night donut and hamburger snacks. These are fun, but so are popcorn parties and less expensive, too!
- Plan your meals every week. This saves unnecessary trips to the store. You can save by planning rather than throwing something together.
- Shop around to find the least expensive store. They vary quite a bit.
- Take advantage of sales. Buy what is on sale in large quantities and freeze for later use.
- When making casseroles, etc. make a large amount and freeze portions for later.
- Private store brands are less expensive than much advertised brands.
- Food in restaurants is much more costly than home-cooked meals.
- Buy nutritious food, not junk – you are wasting money on items that have no food value such as candy, chips, snack food, etc.
- Convenience foods are expensive. You can make your own freeze ahead meals to save you time later.
- Make a weekly grocery list and stick to it. Never grocery shop when you are hungry.
- Use simple things like baby oil, instead of expensive creams.
- Buy shampoo, soap, etc., on sale in large quantities and store for later use. Use up what is on the shelf now before buying more. Avoid throwing out half-used bottles.
- Write a quick letter instead of calling.
- Buy store-brand aspirin. Aspirin is all the same.
- If you must call, use evening and weekend discount rates. In Kansas, the rates go down 35 percent after 5 p.m. on weekdays and 60 percent after 11 p.m. and on weekends. The exception is Sundays from 5 to 11 p.m. Then the discount is 35 per cent instead of 60 per cent.
- Certain sports and hobbies may be too expensive for you to indulge in now. Save them for when you can afford it.
- Jogging or walking costs nothing.
- Read magazines at the library or share a subscription with a roommate. Bars and clubs are an expensive form of entertainment. Be creative in choosing alternatives. See a movie, have a popcorn party and watch a movie on TV, have a card party. You can have fun without spending money.
- Girls, pay for the guy’s movie once in a while.
- Walk if you can. Leave the car parked at home, get some exercise, and save yourself money.
- If your main transportation need is to get around town and you can usually find other rides home on weekends, invest in a good bicycle instead of a car. Save up for when you will have to have a car.
- Make minor home repairs on your car.
- Use self-serve gas pumps.
- Car pool to work, class, meetings, shopping trips, etc.
- Softback books are less expensive than hardback.
- Notebook paper has two sides.
- Don’t forget to sell your old books for $.
- Buy used books when you can.
- Some texts are available for rent.
- Buy furniture and other big items at auctions, garage sales, etc.
- Never buy anything on credit unless you know if and how you can pay for it.
- Keep a budget for at least a month to find out exactly where your money is going. You would be surprised how fast it can be nickled and dimed away. If writing everything down for a month seems too hard, do it at least for two weeks and multiply by two.
Before you buy something, ask yourself:
- Do I need it?
- Can I go without it until a sale comes along?
- Can I borrow or rent?
DO INCLUDE STUDY ABROAD OR MISSION TRIPS IN YOUR KWU EDUCATION PLAN!
- They are a wonderful part of your education and well worth the investment.
- Where you can, combine Service with travel for a truly valuable experience.
- BUT PLAN FOR IT. Identify clearly how much of the travel expense you will need to pay for and get a good estimate for how much spending money you should take with you. Then, work and save for it. An impulsive trip charged on a credit card or paid for with a student loan increases the cost of the trip!
- Can Financial Aid help you pay for study abroad? Possibly. See the Student Financial Planning Office for guidance and ideas on how to pay for your study abroad through KWU.
These are some ideas we have to help you save money while here at Kansas Wesleyan University. If you have any ideas of your own, stop by and let us know what helps you to save money.
The intent of the preceding information has been to provide you with some cost-saving ideas. At this point you should have a pretty good idea of how much money you will have to spend during the school year and what you can afford. Be ready for the unexpected. Be prepared to adjust as you go. Budgeting will help you do more with less.
If you find you are having trouble making your budget work, make an appointment to see the Associate Director of Student Financial Planning in the K-Dub Hub in Pioneer Hall Room 285. A little help in planning your budget when you first have a problem can prevent a financial crisis later on!
While student loans are vitally important in financing an education, it is prudent to borrow wisely. By borrowing wisely, a student is investing in the future. However, overborrowing can create a serious future financial strain. The more you know about student loans the better able you will be to manage your loans to actually build your future financial strength. (Future financial strength is one of the reasons you went to college, right?! Yes!! ) . Here are two websites to help you become a smart student loan comsumer:
- Federal Site: Studentloans.gov. This is where you did your Entrance Interview and Master Promissory Note before you borrow and will visit again at graduation to complete the mandatory Exit Interview: www. Studentloans.gov
- A public service site: Bankrate.com: https://www.bankrate.com/loans/refinance-student-loans/#introduction
After leaving Kansas Wesleyan University, the borrower has a grace period (if he or she has not already used it by “sitting out” a semester). The servicer of the loan establishes a repayment schedule based on the amount borrowed and the terms of the loan. It is critical that borrowers notify the servicer of address changes and inability to make the monthly payment.
KNOW YOUR SERVICER
You can identify the servicer(s) for your loans by logging onto the Federal Website: National Student Loan Data System for students at http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/. There is a hypertext link for each loan to the loan’s servicer. We strongly suggest that you log onto NSLDS periodically to monitor your student loans and maintain an active account with each servicer.
As a general rule of thumb, the student loan payment should not exceed 5-10% of the gross monthly salary after graduation. It is important to consider this ratio while monitoring the total amount borrowed.
Students may need to borrow from more than one loan program (Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Student Loans) at the same time. Minimum repayments are established for each loan program. Students may want to consider consolidating all loans into one payment after graduation.
Default can be a serious consequence of overborrowing. Default will affect your credit rating; may result in lawsuits, garnishment of wages, or other collection efforts; and can cause loss of federal and/or state tax refunds and future eligibility for federal student aid. Default can be avoided by prudently planning debt.
If you have a problem with your servicer, feel free to contact the Director of Student Financial Planning at 785-833-4315 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes we can intercede to help. If you feel the problem with your servicer is more serious than that, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Loan Ombudsman’s Office:
Via telephone: 877-557-2575
Via fax: 606-396-4821
Via mail: FSA Ombudsman Group
P.O. Box 1843
Monticello, KY 42633