Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when a person commits fraud while posing as someone else. The threat of identity theft is real and can take months or even years to recover from once you are a victim. Use the information below to familiarize yourself with the precautions you can take to minimize the chance of becoming a victim and, if you are a victim, these steps will help you correct the situation.

FOLLOW THESE HELPFUL HINTS TO AVOID BECOMING A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT:

Personal:

1. Order a copy of your credit report on a frequent basis (at least annually, preferably quarterly). You can request your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

2. If you have to give private information over the phone, ensure you are in a secure location.

3. Shred all financial statements, billing statements, and pre-approved credit card offers.

4. The IRS does not request personal/financial data through email, so don’t respond to any emails asking for that information.

5. Check your financial accounts regularly.

6. Select Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) and passwords carefully so they can’t be easily guessed by someone else.

7. Don’t give out private information over the phone or Internet unless you have initiated the contact or know for certain to whom you are speaking.

8. Destroy your computer’s hard drive if you are selling it or giving it away.

9. Don’t carry your social security card with you.

10. Don’t carry your registration in your vehicle; instead, carry it in your wallet.

11. Don’t carry auto insurance policies in your car; instead, keep them safe at home.

12. Make photo copies of all the cards in your wallet and keep them in a safe place.

E-Commerce:

1. Ensure you are using an ATM without someone watching you.

2. Pay your bills online using a secure website if that option is available to you.

3. Avoid entering your credit card number online unless it is encrypted on a secure website.

Mail:

1. Take outgoing personal and/or bill payments to the U.S. Postal Service mailboxes or drop them off inside a post office.

2. Don’t write your account number on the outside of envelopes containing bill payments.

3. Have the post office hold your mail when you are out of town.

4. Don’t leave mail sitting in an unprotected mail box.

Banking:

1. Use traveler’s checks versus personal checks when traveling.

2. Review monthly bank and credit card statements for mistakes or unfamiliar charges.

3. Have your paychecks directly deposited into your bank account.

4. Avoid providing personal information—account number or password—over the phone or via the Internet.

IF YOU ARE—OR BECOME—A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT, FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF:

1. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): www.ftc.gov or 877.438.4338.

2. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the four major credit bureaus:

3. Close the accounts that have been used fraudulently.

4. File a police report.

5. Keep an identity theft log for your personal records.

6. Contact other agencies that might be involved: Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline (800.269.0271), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (888.877.7644), and the Internal Revenue Service (800.829.0433).

http://www.nelnet.com/uploadedFiles/Home_Content/Financial_Literacy/20093_PS_IdentityTheftFlyer_HRFIN.pdf

Loan Websites

Federal Student Loan Websites

Complete FAFSA® – Complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to see what aid may be available to help you pay for college

 

Federal Student Aid– Get ready for college or career school, learn about federal student aid and how to apply using the FAFSA®, and get information on repaying student loans

 

Federal Student Aid: Loan Forgiveness, Cancellation and Discharge– Find out whether you qualify due to your job, disability, the closure of your school, or other circumstances

 

Federal Student Aid: Military Student Loan Benefits– Information Members of the U.S. Armed Forces need to know about your federal student loan benefits

 

National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)– Lets you retrieve your loan information for your federally-owned or federally-guaranteed loans including any balances and which company is servicing them

 

StudentLoans.gov– Apply online for Income Driven Repayment plans, consolidate federal student loans, complete your Master Promissory Note, complete entrance and exit counseling, and more

 

U.S. Department of Education– Provides information about the Department’s offices, programs, information and assistance services, funding opportunities, education statistics, publications and more
https://www.mohela.com/DL/resourceCenter/AdditionalResources.aspx

Work Study

State Work-Study Pays. Earn money & experience.

Pennsylvania has its own State Work-Study Program outside of Federal Work-Study. The program is open to all PA students, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. This is an additional opportunity to earn money for school and experience for the real world.

The State Work-Study Program is a great option for Pennsylvania students:

 

  • Take advantage of employment opportunities located in Pennsylvania.
  • Choose your own employer.
  • Pick a job in your future career field.
  • Work up to 40 hours per week.

https://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/work-study-employment/index.shtml

Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

Do you know a high-performing Missouri State-West Plains student looking to transfer to a four-year institution? Does he or she have financial need? If so, please encourage him or her to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which provides up to $40,000 annually to community college students and recent alumni who will pursue a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution. The application is now open and will close December 2. For more information, visit: http://www.jkcf.org/scholarship-programs/undergraduate-transfer/

Financial Literacy

What is financial literacy?

Financial literacy is defined as:

  1. The ability to read, analyze, manage and communicate about the personal financial conditions affecting material well being.
  2. The term is used to describe financial education programs on college campuses and within high schools. The objective of financial literacy programs is to help students better manage their finances,budget effectively, and borrow wisely.

Smart financial management includes a few basic good habits. If you are a student, you may already have a checking account, a credit card, or maybe even a car loan. When heading off to college, you may also need to borrow student loans to help finance your education. But have you determined your financial goals and established good financial habits? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Steps you can take now to get on the right financial path

  • Take charge of your spending. Establish a budgetPDF Document; set limits and prioritize; determine the difference between needs and wants; speak with a professional, nonprofit credit counselor if needed.
  • Start saving. The earlier you save, the more you’ll have.
  • Understand the costs of credit. Compare at least three offers before you choose a credit card; look for low interest rates and no annual fees; always pay more than the minimum payment.
  • Understand how credit use affects your future. Know the difference between good and bad debt; check your credit report annually.
  • Protect your credit and your financial future. Beware of identity theft; review statements and notify creditors immediately of errors; know what’s in your wallet/purse.

Planning for Financial Success

Minimize your student loan debt by following these Top 10 ways to graduate debt free.

  1. Complete the FAFSA annually.
  2. Qualify for federal grants.
  3. Research state scholarship and grant programs.
  4. Apply for institutional scholarships.
  5. Explore private scholarships.
  6. Inquire about work programs available on your campus.
  7. Set up a payment plan for your tuition.
  8. Secure summer employment.
  9. Invest in MOST, Missouri’s 529 college savings plan.
  10. Live like a student now, so you don’t have to later.

www.dhe.mo.gov/ppc/studentloans/finacialliteracy.php

 

Scholarship Information

Scholarship Search Tips

In these tough economic times, many families may need additional money to help pay for college. Federal and state financial aid programs may not be enough. Seeking and applying for private scholarships from non-profit foundations and other organizations may provide the extra help needed. Here are some suggestions about how to find legitimate scholarships.

  • “Like” the MDHE’s Facebook page, Journey to College. The MDHE is often notified when new private scholarships are available or when a scholarships’ application period opens, and this information is added immediately to Journey to College.
  • Follow the MDHE’s tweets via Twitter, and have these communications sent to your cell phone. The MDHE communicates scholarship information as well as other resources for students and their families.
  • Ask businesses, community groups, schools, and religious and civic organizations in your local community or state about scholarship opportunities.
  • Check your local library for scholarship books.
  • Keep looking! The more you search, the greater your chances of finding additional programs.

Keep the following tips in mind when using the Internet or a scholarship search organization:

  • Be cautious of scholarship scams. Contact the Federal Trade Commission for more information.
  • Do not provide credit card information to use a free scholarship search.
  • Read the fine print carefully. Many online financial assistance search services request information about you so they can find financial assistance programs for which you may be eligible. Some of these companies may send you information about other services that they provide or sell your information to another company.

www.dhe.mo.gov/ppc/grants/scholarshipsearchtips.php

Debt Management

Debt Management and Minimization

Many students seek a postsecondary education hoping to improve their career opportunities and financial future. Managing your money while in school is an important part of obtaining the lifestyle you want. However, poor money management, both while in school and after, can mean a large salary going towards debt and not much else.

Follow these steps to make getting your degree, minimizing your debt and repaying your student loans as easy as possible.

For those just beginning a postsecondary program:

  1. Identify your expected after-graduation salary by visiting sites like www.salary.com, as well as job finding services, like www.monster.com or jobs.mo.gov, to determine the demand and compensation for your profession.
  2. Determine how much the degree you want will cost and if you can afford it.
    • Research and compare the total costs for each postsecondary institution you are interested in, including course fees, add-on fees (student health fees, recreation fees, etc.), room and board, etc. The national College Navigator website provides comprehensive cost and program information as well as links to each schools’ net price calculator. The U.S. Department of Education also publishes College Scorecards on postsecondary institutions to help you make an informed decision about which program, degree, or college in which to invest your time and money.
    • Use online calculators, such as the calculator on Mapping Your Future to determine how much student loan debt you can afford (based on your expected future salary) or what salary you will need to pay your student loan debt. A general rule of thumb is to keep student loan payments to 8% of your income.
  1. Develop and follow a budget while getting your degree so you can avoid credit card and other types of debt.
  2. Try to find sources of free funding, such as Pell Grants and scholarships, before borrowing student loans. It is also a good idea to pay for a portion of your college expenses as you go through part-time employment.

Those with a degree or about to graduate should be aware of student loan repayment options. Once you have borrowed a student loan, use the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to access your student loan account and keep track of your total debt. You may also get the information by calling (800) 4-FED-AID.

8 percent rule

Most financial advisors recommend student loan payments not exceed 8% of your monthly gross income. Multiply your estimated gross income (before taxes and other withholdings) by .08. Your student loan payments should not exceed this amount.

http://www.dhe.mo.gov/ppc/studentloans/debtmanagement.php

 

Loan Payments

How to Make a Payment

Making payments on your student loan with Nelnet is easy! With options to pay anytime, anywhere, you can manage your account your way. We offers a variety of payment options, including automatic debits (ACH), to let you choose a method that’s convenient for you. And, if you wish, we can send you text alerts to confirm or remind you to make your payments! See details below.

+Your Accounts, Loan Groups, and Due Dates

http://www.nelnet.com/How-To-Make-A-Payment/

FAFSA Toolkit

FAFSA Toolkit:

Join the club. File the FAFSA

This toolkit is designed to assist you in providing information on completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

With the click of a mouse or a quick “cut and paste,” you can have your own FAFSA campaign, provided by PHEAA.

From print ads to web banners, our tools help schools and community partners increase FAFSA awareness.

How to Download: To download, right-click (control-click on Mac) and select “Save Target As…” from the pop-up menu.

https://www.pheaa.org/partner-access/fafsa-toolkit.shtml