At UIW, we want all of our students to be successful - both in the classroom, as well as after they leave UIW.
Below you will find answers to common questions as well as resources specific to life after UIW.
Congratulations! This is an exciting time for you! It's also a time when it's easy to forget about loan repayment amidst the excitement. Below are some helpful tips for successful loan repayment.
1. EXIT COUNSELING - Know what/who you owe!
After graduation, students who borrowed loans should complete Exit Counseling at http://www.studentloans.gov. You can also check your federal loan totals at any time at the National Student Loan Database. You will need your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID in order to log into either website. Create or retrieve your FSA ID at http://www.fsaid.ed.gov.
Exit Counseling is important to get you started on the right track - know how much you owe, who you need to pay, and when those payments begin, as well as options for deferment or forbearance if you are having trouble making payments.
The Office of Financial Assistance will continue to support you after graduation - call us any time for loan advice, help with federal loan consolidation, or to talk about repayment options! You can also get free loan advice 24/7 through our $ALT program - sign up today at http://www.saltmoney.org.
2. BUDGETING - Determine how much you can afford to pay.
$ALT offers free budgeting calculators - it's important to be realistic about your monthly bills and plan for your required loan payments.
3. LOAN ESTIMATES - Understand your monthly requirements, and choose the right loan repayment plan for you.
4. KEEP IN TOUCH!
Any time you change your address, phone number, or email, it's important to let UIW as well as your loan servicer know. We can't help you if we can't get in touch with you!
Withdrawing or dropping courses can have a big impact on your current and/or future aid.
You should always contact the Office of Financial Assistance before you withdraw to find out what kind of financial impact this will have on your aid. When you withdraw from a semester (or a mini-term), the Dept. of Education requires that we calculate how much of the time you were scheduled to attend (i.e. registered) versus the time you actually attended. This results in a percentage that may require us to return part of your aid. This is required even if you completed a previous mini-term in the same semester AND even if you receive a 100% refund of tuition/fees. Withdrawals also cause a reduction in your cumulative completion percentage, since they are hours attempted that you have not earned. This can cause you to lose eligibility for future aid (pending an appeal) due to the federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.
Dropping coursework affects your cumulative completion percentage; that is, the percentage of hours you have earned versus those you have attempted. We are required to use a cumulative percentage, including any coursework attempted/earned at any previous college/university. Dropping can cause you to lose eligibility for current or future aid due to renewal requirements for specific aid funds, or the federal Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirement. If you are already on SAP probation, you may lose all future eligibility for aid, unless you submit a new appeal and it is approved.
Any time you withdraw or drop below half-time enrollment, we are required to report the change in enrollment to your student loan servicers. This may trigger you to go into your grace period (typically 6 months) and subsequently into repayment on your student loans.
What happens after you withdraw?
The Office of Financial Assistance can help you at any time, even if you've already left UIW! Appointments are not required, but are encouraged. Contact us for help!
1. Find out who your student loan servicer(s) is/are and how much you owe: National Student Loan Data System
2. Complete Loan Exit Counseling: StudentLoans.gov
3. Contact your loan servicer(s) and request a repayment plan that works for you. Not sure which plan to pick? Contact us for help!
4. Once you re-enroll at least half-time (at any school), make sure that you contact your loan servicer(s) to notify them and put your loans back into an in-school deferment.
Need advice outside of normal business hours? $ALT has loan counselors available 24/7, and it's free to UIW students!
When you transfer to a different school, your aid does not automatically transfer over to the new school - you must take steps to transfer your FAFSA as well as notify your loan servicers of your new enrollment.
1. If you are transferring mid-year, add your new school to your FAFSA at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. Keep in mind that not all aid will transfer - you will need to speak to your new school about the aid you will be eligible for with them. If you're going to begin in the summer, be sure to contact the school to find out which year's FAFSA covers their summer sessions.
2. Find out who your student loan servicer(s) is/are and how much you owe: National Student Loan Data System
3. Complete Loan Exit Counseling for UIW: StudentLoans.gov
4. Once you re-enroll at least half-time, make sure that you contact your loan servicer(s) to notify them and put your loans back into an in-school deferment.
The Office of Financial Assistance is happy to help you at any time, even if you've already left UIW! Need advice outside of normal business hours? $ALT has loan counselors available 24/7, and it's free to UIW students!
If you're having trouble making your student loan payments, it's important to understand your options.
Don't be afraid to reach out - the Office of Financial Assistance is here to help, no matter how long it's been since you graduated!
Don't ignore the problem!
Failing to make payments on your loans can result in big problems for your credit rating, and even your ability to get certain jobs. Don't let this happen to you - there are ways to manage repayment, as long as you reach out to your servicer or someone else who can assist you.
Change your repayment plan
You are allowed to change your repayment plan at least once a year - simply contact your servicer to go over options and payment estimates. There are even repayment plans that take into consideration the amount of money you make and how many people are in your household, which are called "income-driven repayment plans." For more details on income-driven repayment options, see https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven.
Apply for a deferment or a forbearance
If changing your repayment plan doesn't work for you, you may be eligible for a deferment or a forbearance. Keep in mind that deferments or forbearances have a limited amount of time that you can use them, and they do not make the loan go away - they simply postpone your payments, while the loans typically continue to gather interest. Use a deferment or forbearance as a last resort.
Look into loan forgiveness programs
Are you working in public education, public health, non-profit, or emergency management? You may qualify for loan forgiveness! Research federal loan forgiveness programs at studentaid.ed.gov.
You've adjusted to life IN college, now it's time to adjust to life AFTER college! You will no longer have financial aid disbursements to assist with living expenses, and you will need to get used to budgeting wisely, repaying your loans, and setting/meeting financial goals.
Average Salary Ranges
Get a realistic idea for what your chosen occupation will pay. Sources for salary information might be family or friends who work in the industry, college alumni with jobs in similar organizations, UIW's Career Services office, ranges posted in Help Wanted ads, or salary surveys conducted by professional organizations. Once you have an estimated pay range, you can use websites such as Paycheck City to calculate what your take-home pay might be after taxes, based on your filing status and your state.
Create a Spending Plan
1. Track your expenses for a full month.
2. Put your expenses into categories such as: rent/mortgage, utilities, food, gas, entertainment, dining out, savings, credit/loan payments. Make notes on which expenses are fixed (such as rent), and which are variable (such as food/gas).
3. Add up your total monthly income. If your pay fluctuates each month, calculate a reasonable average.
4. Compare your monthly expenses to your monthly income.
5. Make adjustments to your monthly expenses if they exceed your monthly income. Are there areas such as entertainment or dining out where you can reduce your spending? If your monthly income exceeds your expenses, consider putting money into savings for emergencies or paying off debt such as credit cards or student loans.
6. Monitor your budget monthly to be sure you are meeting your current financial goals and consistently putting money into savings for emergencies.
Need help with budgeting? $ALT has budget calculators and spending plans to help you get (and stay!) on track!
Pay Yourself First!
Most financial advisors will tell you that putting money into savings is one of the most important things you can do to secure your financial future. Reducing your debt will be hard to do in the long term if you are not putting money away into savings to account for life's little unexpected events. Try to keep at least $1000 available in savings at all times for those little emergencies, so that you are not forced to increase credit card debt. Make it part of your monthly spending plan to put a specific amount into savings from every paycheck.