Financial literacy is an essential part of planning and paying for your education. Here you will find a few basic tips and resources to assist you in making informed decisions about managing your finances.
- Get Organized –Create a filing system that organizes your bills, contracts, passwords, and deadlines. These records will help you create a budget, file taxes, and resolve financial disputes. Also, having saved copies of your W2s and filed taxes will help you file your yearly FAFSA.
- Make a Budget –Utilize the simple student budget worksheet and tips provided by mint.com.
- Know Your Aid Limits –The most expensive degree is the one you never complete. It is important to work closely with your academic advisor to create a detailed plan for degree completion. Once that plan is in place, evaluate the aid you are receiving to determine how many years you may be eligible to receive each type of fund. Keep in mind that your eligibility can change each year based on your FAFSA, funding availability, aid limits for loans and grants, Satisfactory Academic Progress, and other factors.
- Ask for Help: Student Services is here to answer any questions you might have about paying for college. Talk to your academic advisor or OCCC’s Financial Aid Specialist to request assistance. Research and utilize other community resources as appropriate.
- Make Smart Choices About Loan Debt –Debt management and repayment planning are complex issues with long lasting repercussions. Luckily there are a wealth of resources to help you make sound decisions.
- Make the most of your money by getting a matched education savings program, called MESA. Students can take advantage of this opportunity to help with other school expenses. MESA provides a 1:3 match and the funds can be used for many purposes, from tuition to supplies (just not housing, food, or child care). Some of our Oregon colleges participate in another matched fund for their students; this would be able to be offered alongside most of those for another opportunity for your students. You can see some more details here: https://www.tlcfcu.org/personal/savings/savings-accounts.
Additional Financial Literacy and Student Loan Information Resources
Free Credit Report: Students should monitor their credit by requesting a free annual credit report. This site has information on how to obtain your credit report and what to do in the case of inaccurate information.
Earned Income Tax Credit: The EITC is for people who earn less than $54,884. If you qualify, it could be worth as much as $6,431 this year. So you could pay less federal tax or even get money back. [More information.] [Flyer, in English] [Flyer, in Spanish]
NSLDS: The federal student loan data system. This is where students may view a summary of all of their federal student loans, as well as the contact information for their loan holders and servicers.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness: If you plan to work in a public service or non-profit field you may be eligible to have your remaining loan debt forgiven after 10 years in repayment
Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans: After your graduate, there are multiple repayment options available for your federal student loans. You can review the currently available payment plans on the FSA website
Emergency Funds: If you are experiencing challenges securing food, transportation, or housing, or have other financial issues that are affecting your ability to attend and succeed in class(es), we encourage you to apply for emergency funds. Please contact Cindy Carlson, Dean of Students or Kimberly Jones, Enrollment Services Manager, for assistance by calling Student Services at 541-867-8501. If you are comfortable doing so, please let your instructor know about your situation. This will allow for a better understanding and could potentially lead to further support and/or resources.