Tuesday, March 25, 2014

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR STUDENT LOAN DEBT

Loan repayment can be an intimidating subject for borrowers.  Being informed can help you take control of your finances.  Avoid fees and extra interest costs, keep your payments affordable, and protect your credit rating.  Important information that could help you:



Know Your Loans: It's important to keep track of the lender, balance, and repayment status for each of your student loans. These details determine your options for loan repayment and forgiveness. If you're not sure, ask your lender or visit www.nslds.ed.gov.
Know Your Grace Period: A grace period is how long you can wait after leaving school before you have to make your first payment.. Don't miss your first payment!

Stay in Touch with Your Lender: Whenever you move or change your phone number or email address, tell your lender right away.) 
Pick the Right Repayment Option: If the standard payment is going to be  hard for you to pay, there are other options, and you can change plans down the line if you want or need to. Extending your repayment period beyond 10 years can lower your monthly payments, but you'll end up paying more interest - often a lot more - over the life of the loan. Some important options for student loan borrowers are income-driven repayment plans such as Income-Based Repayment and Pay As You Earn which cap your monthly payments at a reasonable percentage of your income each year, and forgive any debt remaining after no more than 25 years (depending on the plan) of affordable payments. Forgiveness may be available after just 10 years of these payments for borrowers in the public and nonprofit sectors (see tip 10 below). If you expect your income to be lower than you'd hoped for more than a few months, check out Income-Based Repayment. Your required payment in IBR can be as little as $0 when your income is very low.  To find out more about Income-Based Repayment and related programs and how they might work for you, visit IBRinfo.org.
Don't Panic: If you're having trouble making payments because of unemployment, health problems, or other unexpected financial challenges, remember that you have options for managing your federal student loans. There are legitimate ways to temporarily postpone your federal loan payments, such as deferments and forbearance. For example, an unemployment deferment might be the right choice for you if you're having trouble finding work right now. But beware: interest accrues on all types of loans during forbearances, and on some types of loans during deferment, increasing your total debt, so ask your lender about making interest-only payments if you can afford it.
Don’t Ignore Your Student Loan Payments Due! Ignoring your student loans has serious consequences that can last a lifetime. Not paying can lead to delinquency and default. For federal loans, default kicks in after nine months of non-payment. When you default, your total loan balance becomes due, your credit score is ruined, the total amount you owe increases dramatically, and the government can garnish your wages and seize your tax refunds if you default on a federal loan. For private loans, default can happen much more quickly and can put anyone who co-signed for your loan at risk as well. Talk to your lender right away if you're in danger of default. You can also find helpful information at studentloanborrowerassistance.org.
Lower Your Principal If You Can: When you make a federal student loan payment, it covers any late fees first, then interest, and finally the principal. If you can afford to pay more than your required monthly payment - every time or now and then - you can lower your principal, which reduces the amount of interest you have to pay over the life of the loan.
Pay Off the Most Expensive Loans First: If you're considering paying off one or more of your loans ahead of schedule, or trying to reduce the principal, start with the one that has the highest interest rate.
Is Loan Consolidation Right For You: A consolidation loan combines multiple loans into one for a single monthly payment and one fixed interest rate. If this is appealing, here are some pros and cons to consider. You can consolidate your federal student loans through the Direct Loan Program, and this calculator can help you figure out what your interest rate would be.
Loan Forgiveness: There are various programs that will forgive all or some of your federal student loans if you work in certain fields or for certain types of employers. Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a federal program that forgives any student debt remaining after 10 years of qualifying payments for people in government, nonprofit, and other public service jobs. Find out more at IBRinfo.org. There are other federal loan forgiveness options available for teachers, nurses, AmeriCorps and PeaceCorps volunteers, and other professions.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

CHECK YOUR 2014-2015 FAFSA RESULTS

Check your 2014-2015 FAFSA and be entered to win a $25 gift card!

For your convenience, the ETSU Office of Financial Aid staff will be available in various locations around campus to check your Student Aid Report (SAR) to advise you about any actions you need to take after completing your 2014-2015 FAFSA, including  verification. Our office will also be open during regular business hours.

(Photo ID Required)

March:
Wednesday, 3/5/14  10AM-2PM  D.P. Culp Center Cave (Level 1)
Thursday, 3/6/14  10AM-2PM  D.P. Culp Center Atrium (Level 2)
Thursday, 3/20/14  10AM-2PM  D.P. Culp Center Cave (Level 1)
Monday, 3/24/14  10AM-2PM  D.P. Culp Center Alumni Gallery (Level 1)
Wednesday, 3/26/14  10AM-2PM  D.P. Culp Center Atrium (Level 2)
 
April:
Thursday, 4/3/14  10AM-2PM  D.P. Culp Center Cave (Level 1)
Wednesday, 4/9/14  10AM-2PM  D.P. Culp Center Alumni Gallery (Level 1)


Photo ID required
Gift card winner will be notified by email

Go Bucs!!!


Check Your Financial Aid Status on GoldLink for 2014-2015

Log into the GoldLink Portal
Check your financial aid status
Are all of your student requirements marked received and complete?
Are you "ready to package" for 2014-2015?

April 15, 2014 is the priority deadline to have your FAFSA filed, verification complete if you are selected, all corrections made, and your file ready to package for fall term.

If you meet the priority deadline you will be entered to win a free iPad Mini!!!




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

DO YOU NEED FINANCIAL AID FOR SUMMER SCHOOL 2014?

DO   YOU  NEED  FINANCIAL  AID  FOR   SUMMER  SCHOOL  2014?

ETSU Summer Aid Applications for federal financial aid are now available.
If you are interested in attending summer 2014 and wish to be evaluated for summer aid, take these steps:
1.      Read the information at the link below. 
2.      Complete the 2014 Summer Aid Evaluation Request Form  at the link below, and
3.      Submit the completed form to the Office of Financial Aid.
Link to information and form: http://www.etsu.edu/finaid/documents/General/summeraid2014.pdf
Once your application is received your eligibility will be reviewed.  You will be notified within a few weeks of your summer eligibility.  Remember to check your financial aid status on GoldLink and check your GoldMail frequently for the notification.
Best Wishes,

ETSU Office of Financial Aid

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Graduating or Plan on Not Attending School at Least Six(6) Hours after May?


Always keep your address and phone number up-to-date in GoldLink
· View your GoldMail frequently or forward your GoldMail to your personal account
· View your Student Account and Financial Aid Status frequently
· Time to start thinking about repaying your student loans
o Pick a payment plan that is right for you
o Seek assistance from your lender or from the Office of Financial Aid
o Keep your address and phone number up-to-date with your loan service center
o Do not default on your student loans

Generally, you'll have from 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on which repayment plan (there are several) you choose. The loan servicer will notify you of the date your first payment is due. If you do not choose a repayment plan, you will be placed on the standard repayment plan, with fixed monthly payments for up to 10 years.
Avoid delinquency and defaulting on your student loans! For more information and to learn what actions to take if you default on your loans see the Default Resolution Federal Student Aid.


*National Student Loan Database http://www.nslds.ed.gov has a record of all student loans and grants you have received.  

*You can contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center at: 1-800-557-7394 or visit their website at http://www.studentloans.gov for repayment options and further information.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Students Urged to Complete FAFSA Form

Now that all 2013 W-2 forms have been distributed, students planning to or who may attend East Tennessee State University during the upcoming fall 2014 semester should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible.  The priority deadline for fall is April 15, 2014.
“I cannot stress enough to students and parents the importance of applying by the April 15 deadline,” said Margaret Miller, ETSU Director of Financial Aid.  “Students whose applications are submitted by this date easily should have their funds available by the time fees are due, and they likely won’t have to deal with the stress of trying to complete financial aid files at the last minute.”
Though the FAFSA is the first step in applying, Miller said there are additional forms that must be completed before the application is complete.  Up to 40% of applications are selected by the federal processor for verification and those students are often the ones who are late in returning materials.
“Students are selected at random for verification, and that requires them to submit additional documentation,” she added.  “While it is encouraging to see more students applying early, we are concerned that many chosen for verification aren’t getting those forms back to us on time.  And there are some who do not carefully review their Student Aid Report (SAR) and are unaware they have been identified for verification.”  Students should check the “Comments” section of their SAR to see if they are selected for verification.
Students can monitor their financial aid status via the Financial Aid tab on their Goldlink account.
The ETSU Office of Financial Aid staff says it is important that students complete the application in its entirety, and that all information supplied is accurate.  Errors or incomplete forms will delay processing.

The FAFSA and other important forms, including verification documents, are available at www.etsu.edu/finaid.