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Natural Disaster/On-Campus Resources

A home is surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Spring, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Natural disasters are a tragedy to all involved, especially when they hit close to home. Events such as tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and fires all have the potential to change the financial course of those that they impact. When such events occur, it’s important to remember there are resources available to help you stay on track with your goals and hopefully minimize the impact you feel financially.

As we all know, Manhattan has been recently been impacted by a natural disaster of its own. The flooding, caused by a downpour of nine inches of rain, forced over 300 people to evacuate and resulted in over 3,000 power outages. Most of those evacuated escaped their flooded residence with a few prized possessions and the clothes are their back. The flooding came as a surprise to the community, which caught many victims off guard. Situations like this are when it’s helpful to have resources available in the community and around campus to assist you.

One of those resources is the American Red Cross. When a natural disaster occurs, the first thing you want to do is register with the Red Cross. They will initiate the first steps of recuperating the costs it will take to repair your home and belongings by checking your home and seeing if it will qualify for financial assistance.

Another resource available to students impacted is the Cats’ Cupboard food pantry. The Cats’ Cupboard is open to all K-State students and offers items such as food, hygiene, and cooking equipment. Students are welcome to use this resource as often as they see fit. They are located in the basement of Fairchild in room 009. Cats’ Cupboard is also always open to donations as well. If you are able to help out, they have a list of needed items on their website, https://ksu.edu/cats-cupboard/.

Another resource on campus is the Office of Student Life. They help students accurately access their situation, provide information, and teach the skills needed to navigate crises. This service is also available to all K-State students at no cost.

Numerous other organizations were offering assistance during the flood, and are available to all times to those in need. Shepard’s Crossing offers assistance to Riley County or St. George residents unable to pay their electric or gas bill, rent, or subscribed medicine bills. The Salvation Army provides a variety of basic living needs from things such as school supplies to clothing. Manhattan also has a FIT Closet which has clothing for all ages.

For financial assistance, the Office of Student Financial Assistance offers many resources that can be of benefit to students throughout their time at K-State. They award more than $230 million in scholarships and financial aid every year. However, their primary focus is to guide each student through this process. To effectively do so, every student at K-State is assigned a personal financial aid advisor based on the first letter of their last name. The advisors offer information such as how to fill out scholarship applications and how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Last, but certainly not least, is Powercat Financial. We offer free information and education to students on topics such as budgeting, student loans, managing debt, credit, and transitioning into work. If you’re ever stuck in a financial crisis of any sort, or simply have a financial question you are curious about, please schedule an appointment with us at https://ksu.edu/powercatfinancial/. We’d be more than happy to guide you through the process and get you back on your feet.

Kaden Stein, Peer Counselor II
POWERCAT FINANCIAL
302 K-State Student Union, Third Floor
918 N. 17th Street
Manhattan, KS 66506-2800
785.532.2889
www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial
PowercatFinancial@k-state.edu

 

Fall, Football, and FAFSA are upon us.

Fall, Football and, FAFSA are upon us.

As you may notice the summer heat as finally moved on, football fans are all of the sudden busy every weekend and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available. Okay, maybe the third one wasn’t as obvious. But it’s true none the less! October 1st is the official date that the FAFSA became available for students seeking financial aid for the upcoming year.

Filling out the FAFSA does not have to be a long excruciating process. Students and parents should find a time to sit down and fill out the form together. This will help eliminate confusion and will make sure the students are aware of the financial commitments they are making in the form of promising to repay the loans. This year the office of the US Department of Education has released a mobile app. This allows you to submit your FAFSA directly from your phone! This will work much like the traditional FAFSA by starting with your FSA ID, then gathering information on the student, school, parents, financial information, and more. The app will walk you through this process step by step in an easy, time efficient manner. The app, myStudentAid, can be found on both the Apple App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android). Aside from allowing you to complete the FAFSA, the app will allow you to manage your profile, view federal student loan and aid history, and access additional information. This app was created to make the entire process more convenient for parents and students. However, we have a few more key points to make the experience even more efficient. Here are a few reminders;

  • You will need to provide your school code. For K-State this code is 001928.
  • The priority date will now be December 1, 2018 for the 2019-2020 aid year.
  • The deadline to apply for aid for the 2019-2020 school year is June 30, 2020.
  • Dependent vs. independent is not the same as it is on your taxes. You can find more information about this here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/dependency.
  • You can also access the FAFSA online at: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.
  • Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress. This includes successfully completing 9 of 12 hours for which aid was given, a maximum time frame of 180 hours to complete undergraduate program, and maintain a 2.0 GPA after completing 60 hours.
  • Once you have successfully completed your application and the U.S. Department of Education awards you financial assistance, the office of Student Financial Assistance will inform you and it will visible in KSIS. At this point you can log in and accept or decline the appropriate amount of loans. (NOTE: You do not have to accept the full amount offered to you. It is typically best to take only the amount needed. In fact, we would like to meet with you here at Powercat Financial to determine your personal budget for the year and assist you in assessing your borrowing needs before you accept your loans!)

Even with all these great resources you may still have questions, and we are glad to help. Schedule a free appointment with our trained and knowledgeable peer counselors today at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial!

Joshua Payne

Powercat Financial

Peer Counselor II

302 Student Union, Third Floor

918 N. 17th Street

Manhattan, KS 66506-2800

785.532.2889

www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial

PowercatFinancial@k-state.edu

New Credit Freeze Law

New Credit Freeze Law

There are three national credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. They collect information on individuals’ use and management of credit to build credit reports for lenders to then use to access the risk of potential borrowers.

In September 2017, Equifax was hacked and 145.5 million people’s information was compromised. Peoples sensitive data like names, home addresses, date of birth, driver’s license numbers, and Social Security numbers we taken. Information like this can be used to open bank accounts and lines of credit in the victim’s name without their knowledge.

Due to the breach and its large impact, the President passed new federal law allowing consumers to freeze your credit for FREE. Previously, this would cost up to $10 dollars to put a credit freeze in place. A credit freeze is to be considered one of the most effective ways to protect your credit. A freeze prevents people from opening any new lines of credit in your name by restricting access to your credit files. The law also allows free credit freezes to children under the age of 16 to prevent criminals from making fraudulent accounts under their identities.

If you request to freeze your credit over the phone or online, the freeze has to be completed within a day of the request. If the request is made by mail, then it has to be done within 3 days. This allows you to freeze and better protect your data faster. If you want the freeze lifted from your credit, it will be completed for free as well.

To request a credit freeze you can do so at any of the three credit bureaus’ websites. The FTC also has linked to the bureaus’ sites on their own website: www.identitytheft.gov.

IMPORTANT: If you freeze your credit, it prevents everyone from opening accounts in your name. That includes you! Once you freeze your credit you will be given a PIN to give you access to unfreezing your account later on.

If you would like to learn more about credit, you can visit our page on credit at: https://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/credit/. A peer financial counselor can also assist you in reviewing your credit report, understanding credit score, and much more so make an appointment today at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial!

 

Gretchen Holthaus, Peer Counselor II
POWERCAT FINANCIAL
302 K-State Student Union, Third Floor
918 N. 17th Street
Manhattan, KS 66506-2800
785.532.2889
www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial
PowercatFinancial@k-state.edu

Balancing Your Diet and Budget

Balancing Your Diet and Your Budget

When meeting with students who are having issues with overspending, one of the first things I look at is how much of their total meal expenses are from meals out versus meals cooked at home. As college students, it’s awfully hard to find time to cook a meal when you’re trying to balance studying, extracurricular activities, work, etc. As a result, it’s very convenient to just run through the drive through and be on your way. If you’re not careful, these spending habits add up quickly and you might find yourself breaking your budget. Fortunately for you, food is often one of the items you have the most control over and it’s a lot easier to cut back on than you think. Today, we’ll be taking a look at three easy steps to help you cut down on overspending on food.

Grocery Lists:

When you go to the grocery store, do you bring along a list that you made beforehand or just shop as you go? Keeping track of what you need can help you avoid impulse purchases and also help you with your budget estimates. Lastly, if you’re anything like me, it’ll help you make sure you don’t forget anything while you’re shopping!

In addition, you might find it helpful to shop around at different places to find the best price. A helpful resource we have on campus that I’d encourage you to utilize is Cats’ Cupboard! They are our local on campus food pantry and the only requirement is that you’re a K-State student! For more information, be sure to check out their website: https://www.k-state.edu/cats-cupboard/.

Meal Prep:

Meal prep isn’t just for those gym rats you see all over social media and can help you save time and money on your meals! Meal prep involves cooking all your meals beforehand, typically for the next week or so. This allows you to buy in bulk which can help save you money. In addition, you’ll be a lot less likely to splurge and go to Chipotle when you know you’ve got a meal cooked for you back home that shouldn’t go to waste. Meal prep can also help you manage your time better by preparing your meals beforehand so you don’t have to spend 20-30 minutes each day trying to throw together your meals! Here are some helpful links you can use to start meal prepping:

Eating Healthy on a Budget:

Lastly, be sure to come to our Eating Healthy on a Budget Workshop on October 8th from 4:30pm-5:30pm in Union Room 227! You’ll have the awesome opportunity to learn ways you can cut down on your meal spending and win some awesome prizes!

Hopefully this has all been helpful in teaching you ways you can save some money on your meals. If you have any other questions be sure to schedule a free appointment with us at Powercat Financial via: http://www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial/.

Avery Bolar

Peer Counselor II

Powercat Financial

302 K-State Student Union, Third Floor

918 N. 17th Street

Manhattan, KS 66506-2800

785.532.2889

www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial

PowercatFinancial@k-state.edu

 

Saving for 7 years now is worth more than saving 40 years later

Saving for 7 years now is worth more than saving 40 years later

I get it. Saving money for your future doesn’t seem like that important of an idea, especially when you are in college. And to be honest, it probably wasn’t on my mind much either. I remember thinking that I had my whole life to save for the future and the word retirement didn’t even register as important in my head. When I learned about compound interest, I got a whole new perspective.

The idea is simple. Money you save now will grow with interest in the future. Compound interest allows you to grow interest on the money you put in (called your principal) as well as on the interest you are earning. So it exponentially grows your money. However, you get the most bank for your buck by starting now. That’s why it is important to start a budget now for your future. Deciding to budget and save in the early part of college rather than the end can save you thousands of dollars! Even if you are a little bit later in your college career, it is a good idea to put a part of your income away in some sort of savings account (bear in mind that there is a difference between saving and investing, and we would be happy to explain that difference).

This image (credit: http://www.financiallyfocus.com/story-of-two-savers/) clearly shows the difference between someone who chose to save early rather than later in life.

By deciding to save while he was younger, Saver B was able to have over $467,000 more than if he had only started saving later (maybe after graduation). That is the miracle of compound interest. When we borrow money, we have to pay interest on what we borrow (such as when we borrow money for a car, house, or student loans). By saving money, we get paid interest the longer we have it in the account. How much money you get depends on your financial institution’s interest rate and how long you leave the money in the account. Interest either works for you or against you. By choosing to put away a portion of your income away, you are ensuring your financial security for decades to come! It pays to save!

You don’t have to save $150/month to get started though. You can come in to Powercat Financial to get a savings plan going as well as learn about other wonderful services we offer. We can help you learn about credit and credit cards, student loans, helping with the transition to work, and where you can find more resources. Make an appointment today and see what your money can do for you!

Nathan Astle, Graduate Assistant

Powercat Financial

Powercatfinancial@k-state.edu

www.ksu.edu/powercatfinancial

 

Top 10 Financial Services Our Peer Financial Counselors Offer Students

Powercat Financial is here to support students through their journey to becoming financial independent and to staying on the path of financial wellness. Below are a few of the helpful, free services our peer financial counselors offer fellow students:

  1. Assistance creating a personal spending plan to achieve financial goals of studying abroad, saving for emergencies, buying a car, moving off campus or just staying on budget;
  2. Helping you get all of your student loan information organized and explained in an easy-to-understand method to reduce your confusion;
  3. A review of your credit report to make sure it is accurate and has no mistakes or identity theft concerns;
  4. Cutting through the complexity of student loan repayment and explain the various repayment options;
  5. Explanation of the pros and cons of either consolidation or refinancing of student loans;
  6. A review all of the factors that are important when trying to increase your credit score;
  7. Help with determining who your federal loan servicers are and helping you connect with them;
  8. Assistance creating a to-do list of important financial tasks and deadlines for being successful as a K-State student;
  9. Helping you review job offers and understand the employee benefits and prepare questions to ask your future employer;
  10. Exploring any loan forgiveness programs that you may be eligible for.

All of these services are offered in a personal, confidential setting in 302 Union (on the Union third floor) with a trained peer financial counselors who understands what it is like managing financial decisions as a students. They can help you reduce your financial stress, avoid costly financial mistakes and learn how to create your path to financial wellness.

Current K-State undergraduate or graduate students on the Manhattan campus, Vet Med students and Global Campus student may request a free appointment online anytime at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial.

Jodi Kaus, Director

Powercat Financial

powercatfinancial@k-state.edu

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