Money and Loan Management
Kennesaw State University’s Office of Student Financial Aid is committed to building student awareness of financial responsibility and providing resources to educate students about wise money management and borrowing. Attending college is an expensive investment in your future. Protect your investment by spending, borrowing, and saving WISELY!
KSU is proud to partner with the National Endowment for Financial Education | NEFE by offering CashCourse®, a website providing free, non-commercial financial information and practical financial tips for college students. CashCourse > Registration is easy, so sign up today and start taking charge of your money. Please Note: Many of the links below require CashCourse.org registration in order to access the information and videos.
Would you like a counselor from The Office of Student Financial Aid to provide a financial workshop for your class or organization? Contact Associate Director, Sarah Baumhoff, to request a workshop. Would you like one-on-one assistance understanding your responsibilities as a student borrower? Contact your Financial Aid Counselor with your questions.
Budgeting and Saving
How you manage your money during your college years will have a major impact on your life after college. To graduate with as little debt as possible, you need to plan now, create a personal budget, and stick to it. You might use a simple College Student Monthly Budget Worksheet to track your income and expenses or an online budgeting program like Budget Wizard. No matter what system of budgeting you choose, you must stick to it and resist splurges and impulse-buying. If you do slip up, get right back to your plan. Adopt the “pay yourself first” attitude towards saving in order to build an emergency fund and to plan future purchases.
Managing and Repaying Student Loans
If you’ve taken out student loans, remember that the loan money is for your education. Never borrow more than you need! A general rule of borrowing is that your total loan debt when you leave school should be less than what you might earn as your starting annual salary after you graduate. Ideally, your monthly loan payment should be no more than 10% of your monthly paycheck.
When you borrow student loans, you’ve made a legal commitment to pay back the money with interest. Subsidized loans do not accrue interest while you are enrolled in at least 6 credit hours. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest as soon as the loan is disbursed to you. A wise student borrower will plan to pay the interest on any unsubsidized loans while still in college. A few dollars a month in interest payments will keep the unsubsidized loans from growing.
Students who borrow through private lenders should contact their lenders directly for up-to-date information. Remember that, unlike federal student loans, the interest rates on private loans may be variable.
Always know what you owe and track your student loan debt. Learn how to use The National Student Loan Data System to see everything about your federal loan balances. There are limits to how much you’re allowed to borrow each year and also in your cumulative student career. You’re responsible for knowing these aggregate loan limits.
Students who know how much they owe can plan their postgraduate lifestyle to allow for the quickest possible loan repayment. You can estimate your monthly loan payment by using the U.S. Department of Education's interactive calculator on the Federal Student Aid web site and choosing the different repayment plan options. There are also some Federal Student Loan forgiveness programs.
If you ever experience any difficulty in making a loan payment, contact your loan servicer immediately to prevent loan default. The loan servicer will work with you and explore all options to avoid default. Keep in mind that student loan indebtedness cannot be forgiven by bankruptcy. The Federal Government can require your employer to garnish your wages and the IRS can keep your tax refunds to pay down your debt.
Keeping Your Financial Aid Eligibility
Your financial aid, whether it’s in the form of loans (whether Federal or private), grants (like Pell and Hope), scholarships, or Federal Work Study, all depend on your success as a student. You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). If you fall below the SAP standards, you won’t be eligible for any financial aid at KSU and most other colleges and universities. To protect your financial aid eligibility, avoid withdrawing from courses after Add/Drop and always seek academic or counseling assistance if you’re having academic or personal difficulties that impact your academic success.
Building Good Credit
Building good credit is essential for your life after graduation. Not only is a good credit rating important for buying a car or a home, your future employer may view your credit score as an indicator of your level of responsibility during the hiring process. Your credit rating is a combination of your fixed debt, like your student loans, and revolving debt like credit cards. Maintaining checking and savings accounts and paying off debts on time are the important steps to good credit.
You’re entitled to one free credit report each year which has the information from the three main credit reporting bureaus nationwide ( Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). It’s important to understand your credit score and check your report for errors and possible identity theft.
Preventing Identity Theft
College students are especially vulnerable and should take steps to protect themselves from scams, identity theft and fraud. There are two types of identity theft. The first is "account takeover" which happens when someone gets your existing account information and uses that account to make purchases. The second is "true name" fraud which happens when someone gains access to your personal information, such as your social security number, and uses it to fraudulently open new accounts. Never carry your social security card, and don’t share login information. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), an American federal law, gives you specific rights when you are, or believe that you are, the victim of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission has developed a workbook designed to help you protect your credit: Taking Charge: WHAT TO DO IF YOUR IDENTITY IS STOLEN