Kansas State University


Powercat Financial

2018-2019 FAFSA Priority Date is Friday December 1st!

With finals coming up, I’m sure the last thing you want to hear about is student loans or the FAFSA. BUT THE PRIORITY DATE HAS CHANGED to December 1st for the 2018-2019 FAFSA which is this Friday! It can be overwhelming to complete this application. However, in this article we’ll be answering some frequently asked questions about FAFSA and showing you why it’s not so scary after all!

What does priority date mean?

Priority date is the date that you should get your application in to be considered for limited funding; however, it is not the deadline. While the deadline isn’t until the end of the academic term in the state of Kansas, we encourage all students to apply by December 1st so they can be considered for priority funding.

Am I dependent or independent?

If you are uncertain about your dependency status, you can check www.studentaid.ed.gov to find out more. Some criteria that determines whether you are dependent or independent includes: your age, your marital status, whether you serve in the military, etc. If you’re dependent, you’ll report the information of both you and your parents, while if you’re independent, you’ll only report your own information.

What’s the difference between a grant and a loan?

A grant is financial aid given on a needs basis. Grants are going to be the financial aid that you want to accept first since you don’t have to pay these back. Some examples of grants include: Pell, KS Comprehensive, and Freshman Wildcat. Loans will come next in the hierarchy of what you want to accept since you will have to pay these back.

What’s the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized loan?

The difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans is when the loan accrues interest. Subsidized loans will be what you want to accept first. These loans are need based and will not accrue interest until after you begin your repayment. Unsubsidized loans are not given on a needs basis and will begin accruing interest once fully dispersed. It’s important that if you have unsubsidized loans that you regularly fulfill your repayment obligations so that you can avoid capitalization. Capitalization occurs when previous interest left unpaid begins to accrue interest as well. This will occur at the end of your 6 month grace period.

What’s work study?

Work study is another form of financial aid given by the government through your employer. If you check the box on your application indicating you are interested in work study and are eligible, then after finding an on-campus job, the government will pay part of your paycheck and your employer will pay the other part. This helps motivate students to work on campus and encourages employers to hire students.

Hopefully after learning these tips you’ll be better prepared to complete your FAFSA application. If you need any additional resources regarding your application feel free to make an appointment with Powercat Financial at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial!

Avery Bolar

Peer Financial Counselor I


Don’t Forget To Talk About Money Over Break!

Winter break and the holiday season are approaching and it’s the perfect time to talk about money. Here are a few table conversations you should have this year.

Model good financial behaviors. These gatherings are an opportune time to educate younger members of the family on financial literacy. This may come with an eye roll, however, it is important they learn from older family members about your financial successes and failures. Younger family members are more receptive to advice from family other than their parents and soon they will be in your shoes. Therefore, talking about your holiday budget or college scholarships wouldn’t be a bad thing to discuss.

Student loans and college savings. Have an open dialogue about the finances you have available for this next year as the priority deadline for the FAFSA gets closer (December 1, 2017, for the 2018-2019 academic year). It is important that you are on the same page as your family in what you need for this upcoming year. Expenses and income vary every year and it is important to be transparent about how finances are currently going and how you foresee them in the future. Discuss expectations regarding spending, work, borrowing and other such financial matters.

Tie it to a gift. If gift giving is part of the celebration than find a creative way to teach about money while still giving people joy. This can be done through a piggy bank or a contribution to a college savings plan if they are younger. These gifts can be supplemented with conversations about savings and giving to those in need in your community.

Discuss long-term plans. This doesn’t need to be a morbid conversation. However, estate planning, long term care, and medical preferences are something a family should talk about. As family members grow older there is information we should know and be able to talk about. This could be brought up naturally from a grandmother talking about putting something in her will for you or a joke about putting your family members in a home one day. These prompts could lead into a real conversation about their needs and wants. This is an opportune time to discuss this while all family members are present that will be affected. There are times that this conversation wouldn’t be appropriate, however, it is an important topic to discuss.

You dont have to solve everything. This chat is not meant to be stressful only helpful. This chat doesn’t need to go past transparency and financial responsibility to start setting expectations for family members. But it is important that you have these multi-generational conversations and to start a habit of having open, ongoing dialogue with your family.

If you’re not sure how to get the conversations started, simply print this post and share it with your family members as a guideline of financial topics you can review together. Don’t forget you can make a free appointment with us anytime from our website at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial, to discuss any of these financial matters or questions you may have in more detail.

Alex Bangert

Peer Financial Counselor I


How to Be A Thrifty Giver During the Holidays


During the holidays money can be tight— especially with all the pressure to get everyone you know a nice and meaningful gift. Below are some helpful tips for you and your wallet during the holidays.

Make a List and Check it Twice

First, list out all the people you’d like to get gifts for. After you do that, look through it again. Are there people on there that you maybe have lost touch with or don’t talk to as much anymore? If you are working with a tight budget during the holidays, it will be beneficial shortening this list to those you still have strong relationships with.

Another way to shorten your list would be to start a Secret Santa. Instead of you and your friends getting a gift for every single person, start a Secret Santa. This will limit the number of gift purchases while also allowing you to focus on getting a nice gift for one person instead of however many smaller gifts to stay in budget.

Create a Budget

Now that you have your list, you need to think about what is the total amount that you can afford to spend this holiday season. How much are you willing to spend on each person on your list? When thinking of your budget for the holidays, don’t forget to factor in the little things like wrapping paper, holiday parties, tasty treats, winter activities, and other miscellaneous expenses. Once you have the amount you are willing or can spend on people, you need to start saving for that. The key to saving for holiday shopping is by starting now. The sooner you start the easier it will be to come up with that money. Start now by setting aside a portion of each paycheck or picking up some odd jobs like babysitting, mowing lawns, etc. Another way to save for the holidays is to cut back on your monthly expenses from now until end of January. Try cutting out that extra cup of coffee or try staying in for dinner instead of eating out. The little things will add up over time which is why it’s important to start now!

Think About What to Give

When thinking of what to give people don’t forget the gift of time. Sometimes it may be more meaningful to donate your time to someone and it would be easier on your budget. You could also give a batch of homemade cookies to those people on your list that you have lost touch with. That way you could give a gift to that person without breaking your wallet.

Also when thinking of gifts, don’t count out the DIY projects. Going through Pinterest could give you some great ideas for inexpensive gifts that you could gift to someone on your list. A great gift on there is a DIY decorated coffee mug. You could even go to a thrift store to pick up some plain mugs to take home and decorate yourself.

Do Your Research

Now that you have who you are shopping for and ideas of what to get them, it’s time to do some research. Shop around and find the best deals on items. Look for sites that give user reviews on items as well as sites that show price comparisons such as amazon.com, Cnet.com, and Pricegrabber.com. Another great thing for holiday shopping is coupons which you can find sites like RetailMeNot.com and EBates.com. Free phone applications can also help in your search for deals during this time. Pocket Points offers many deals on online stores for college students. All you have to do is stay off your phone during class!


Holiday shopping can be fun, but don’t get carried away! To help stay on budget when walking into promotion filled stores only bring the cash that you had budgeted for. Leave the credit cards at home! It’s too easy to just swipe your card and go; but if you do make sure to pay your card balance off immediately. You don’t want to have a credit card balance looming over you for the months to follow after the holidays.

Another great way to shop for the holidays, is to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. These days can be overwhelming, but they offer great deals. Go into these days having done some research on what their price will be on those days for the things you want to gift.

Attend our Thrifty Gifting Workshop

Powercat Financial will be hosting its annual Thrifty Gifting Workshop this Thursday, November 9th from 4:30 – 6:00 in the Flint Hills Room in the Student Union. There will be games, prizes, and tips for students on how to stay on a budget during the holidays. There is also a chance to win two Country Stampede tickets and free food for all! Everyone should walk away with a prize and some great holiday tips!

If you have any questions about how to start your holiday budget, schedule a free and confidential appointment with Powercat Financial at www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial! We would love to help you out.

Gretchen Holthaus

Peer Financial Counselor I



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