We recommend that each student takes an active role in enhancing his or her financial literacy by participating in opportunities available at PLU. Here are some websites to check out:
PLU’s Office of Student Financial Services Facebook page provides links to necessary forms and posts notifications of important information, upcoming deadline dates, and workshop opportunities. www.facebook.com/PLUosfs/
Our Twitter account provides links to scholarship opportunities, useful information, upcoming deadline dates and workshop opportunities. Follow us @PLUosfs
The IGRAD website offers calculations and budgeting worksheets, financial literacy resources and a job search by college degree. It’s never too early to start thinking about internships, paid or unpaid, as you choose your career. There also are videos on personal finance and student loans.
CashCourse is funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education and is easy to use. Really. It offers customizable tools you can use to make decisions in life. It’s free from commercial ties, so you won’t be spammed after you log in.
101 Financial is a money-management educational system that puts you in the driver’s seat for your financial life. It will provide tips to pay off debt in the shortest amount of time, and how to build a positive credit history.
The Scholarship Chase—It Doesn’t End, nor Should It
You may have thought that once you crossed the finish line into college your freshman year that scholarship applications and essays were in your rear-view mirror. Actually, you should always be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities. It will help keep your student debt in check (at least lower) and will provide, in some cases, cash for items such as books and housing, which many typical scholarships you applied for in your senior year of high school may not cover.
PLU’s Office of Student Financial Services regularly posts scholarship opportunities on our social media outlets, especially on #FreeMoneyFriday.
Here are some of the scholarships available now:
Internet Effects Scholarship: $1,000, Application deadline 12/20/17
This scholarship is for any student currently registered in an accredited university or college. Students will need to write a 1,000 word essay about the impact of the internet on our life.
ZEQR Scholarship: $1,000, Application deadline 12/22/17
This annual scholarship award is for students who are currently enrolled as a high school or college/university student within the United States or Canada.
Semiahmoo Apiaries Scholarship: $1500 Application deadline 02/05/2018
Write an essay on “Health benefits of honey” and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. This scholarship is for any student currently enrolled at an accredited university or college.
Realtime CV Annual Scholarship: $3000, Application deadline 09/15/17
Applicants must be enrolled in a university and be in good academic standing. Submit a 750 minimum word essay about your goals in education as well as your plans for after graduation.
Handy Generators Scholarship: $2000, Application deadline 12/25/17
This scholarship is for any student currently registered in an accredited university or college. Write 1,500 – 2,000 word essay describing the benefits of solar power.
Halo Scholarship: $500 - $1500, Application deadline 11/1/17
Applicants must be enrolled in (or accepted to) a full-time undergraduate program at an accredited U.S. university.
If none of these seem to fit, go to www.thewashboard.org, a free service for students. Fill out your profile, and it will match you with scholarships that fit your interest and background.
Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) promotes the unique educational opportunities of independent colleges in Washington. ICW has several scholarship opportunities each year; go to their website to access information and applications: http://www.icwashington.org/scholarships/
Applications open in the winter of the preceding academic year.
The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship supports low- and middle-income students pursuing eligible high-demand majors in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) or health care and encourages recipients to work in Washington State once they complete their degrees.
Applicants must be Washington State resident and must have earned a high school diploma or GED from a Washington State high school or institution. College students pursing an eligible high demand major in science, technology, engineering math or health car who have completed four or fewer semesters by the fall semester are eligible to apply.
Application opens in the winter of the preceding academic year, usually in January.
Student Loans: What You Need to Know
It’s not too early to think about your student loan repayment. In fact, with a little bit of planning you can set yourself up for successful loan repayment. Here are some tips for managing your student loans now:
Know how much you owe: Keep track of how much you are borrowing. For federal loans, go to the National Student Loan Data System website (NSLDS) to retrieve your loan information. Start a spreadsheet listing out each loan, balances, and payoff dates.
Know your loan servicer: This is where you will paying your student loans. If you don’t know who your servicer is go to NSLDS to check. Make sure your servicer knows how to reach you. If your address or contact information changes, be sure to update your servicer.
Manage your student loans online: Keep your login information for your loan servicer up to date and secure. Check on your loans at any time, keep track of balances, payment history and plan for when your loans go into repayment.
Make payments or pay interest now: There is no penalty for early payment. Even a small payment will make a difference towards managing student loan debt.
If you are taking a federal direct unsubsidized loan, you can make payments on the interest while you are taking classes. An interest payment on a $2,000 unsubsidized loan for 2017-18 could be as little as $10 a month! In this same scenario, a $2,000 unsubsidized loan for 2017-18; a payment of $15 a month could pay the interest and a portion of the principal.
If you need help understanding your student loans we can help. The Office of Student Financial Services has staff members who specialize in Financial Literacy and Exit Counseling. Make an appointment or stop by our office. We can help you login to NSLDS, figure out how much you owe in student loans, your loan servicer, answer questions about early repayment, and talk about repayment options that may be available to you when you graduate. We can also help you with questions about budgeting, credit, banking and more.
Student Financial Services Specialists
The Student Financial Services Specialists are your personal contact and will be throughout your years at PLU. They will assist you with business functions including your financial aid, student account, online payment contract, verification of enrollment, refunds and other valuable services.
Staff in the Office of Student Financial Services will answer any questions about your PLU tuition statement, financial aid package or payment plan, now and during the academic year. You always can avoid paying late fees, losing deposits or forfeiting refunds by paying attention to key deadline dates — at PLU and everywhere. Make time to keep informed. Planning ahead always saves in the long run!