Kansas State University


Powercat Financial

Author: Powercat Financial

Director of PFC

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


Exploring Private Student Loan Options

It is about that time of year again; Time to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA. The priority deadline for filling out the FAFSA is December, 1st, which is much sooner than the March 1st date it had been in prior years. Mark it on the calendar and request an appointment with Powercat Financial to familiarize yourself with the FAFSA and federal student loan process. Peer Counselors can help you plan out your financial future and come up with how much you need to borrow. It is crucial to accept ONLY what you need to prevent over-borrowing.

For some students, savings, scholarships and federal aid may not be enough, so they may be forced to consider private loans to help pay for their education. What options are out there?

FASTChoice Tool: A guide to helping you choose your private loan which can be found at http://www.k-state.edu/sfa/aid/loans/private/

FASTChoice is a resource tool to allow students and families to see what lenders and loan products are available to help pay for educational expenses. If a student is in need of additional financial assistance, this tool should be the first place he or she turns to.

Before exploring the tool, it is important to know what to be looking for. There are several key categories to private loans that all students and families should be aware of before applying for loans.

Interest rates:

Lenders rarely give complete details of the terms of private student loans until after the student submits an application. For example, many lenders advertise the lowest interest rate they charge (given out to good credit borrowers). Most students, with little to no credit, must be aware of this while comparing different lenders.

Students should also consider the differences between fixed and variable rate loans. The difference is simple: the rate on a variable interest rate loan can change over the life of a loan, whereas a fixed rate will remain the same unless you refinance it. On the other hand, rates on government student loans are always fixed, and don’t take into account the credit risk posed by the borrower. With that being said, it is important to understand and decide which type of private loan you want to apply for.


When looking at different loan options, make sure you understand what if any fees they may charge and if this fee comes out of your loan proceeds.

Repayment plans:

Private loans do not have the same range of flexible and affordable repayment plans as federal student loans do. Private lenders may offer flexible repayment plans or other affordable options, but they are not required to do so. As you begin to explore the tool, examine which lenders offer repayment plans and understand the details associated with each. You should review your private loan contracts carefully to better understand what rights you have.

These are just a few key, and important areas regarding private student loans. It is crucial that you understand what you are applying for before filling out the application. The FASTChoice tool offers an easy way to compare loan options from different lenders. If you are having a hard time understanding the details of these loans, schedule a meeting with a peer counselor today!

Upsides to private student loans (https://www.estudentloan.com/blog/pros-cons-private-student-loans)

  • Private loans may cover the total cost of attendance
  • Cosigners may often be able to be released from the promissory note after the student makes a number of on-time payments

Downsides to private student loans (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/federal-vs-private)

  • Fewer in-school benefits and may have higher interest rates than federal student loans as rates are based on credit-worthiness
  • Lenders may require an established credit record and also a cosigner
  • Students with private loans will not be eligible for loan forgiveness programs
  • Private loan repayment plans will likely not include income-based repayment options like federal loans offer
  • Private debt follows you to the grave and others may be held responsible. Federal student loan debt dies along with you and will not count against your estate when you pass away.


Nolan Keim

Peer Financial Counselor III



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