April is the official National Financial Literacy Month! In efforts to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach students how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits, our staff at the Student Loan Education Office are taking a leading role in spreading the word about the benefits of knowing more about money.
So what is financial literacy? The one thing most people agree on is that it should be taught, and that it requires more than just a transfer of knowledge. For some people, it may require knowledge and building new skills. For others, it may mean unlearning bad habits. And for some it could mean a change in attitude – like choosing healthy eating over double cheeseburgers.
Most important of all, conversations about financial literacy should be goal-oriented. Remember that saving money – at any age – is about planning for the future. Thinking about future family or personal expenses for yourself will help you think about saving in a practical way. It also makes the outcome of saving that much more concrete.
We are working to raise awareness by offering a few seasonal tips to help get your financial house in order and spring into financial well-being.
1. Dust Off your Credit Report
Check your credit report at least once a year to correct errors and detect unauthorized activity. It’s free and it’s yours, so make sure you know what’s in there. Remember, only one web source is authorized to distribute this information to you for free once a year: www.annualcreditreport.com You can also request your report by phone. Call 1-877-322-8228.
2. Learn your Federal Student Aid Options and Repayment Plans
High school graduation is just around the corner. Don’t miss out on the many federal grant and loan options available to almost everyone. Start by completing the FAFSA today. If you are a current student, make sure you know your borrowing history and are in tune how repayment will affect you once you graduate from ISU.
3. Take a Course on Personal Finance
HDFS 183 is a one credit one-credit introduction to managing your money offered both online and in-class. The course covers the student’s perspective on credit, credit cards, debt, financial aid, savings, insurance, and taxes. The class provides an introduction to basic concepts and budgeting practices for management of resources and prevention of financial problems commonly associated with college, including credit and student loans. There is also a 3 credit course, HDFS 283, which goes into a more thorough exploration of personal finance management but from a family perspective. If your schedule permits, these are great classes to take as an undergrad!
4. Know Before You Go
Navigating the financial marketplace can be overwhelming. Prepare yourself with these helpful checklists and tip sheets before making your next financial decisions. It’s never too late to start becoming “Financially Fit!” https://www.nelnet.com/Get-Financially-Fit/