The financially Savvy Saints is an initiative piloted by WellU Financial and is designed to improve the financial confidence and money management habits of students at The College of St. Scholastica. Peer mentors organize and facilitate a variety of personal finance educational experiences, including class presentations, workshops, and campus community events. Mentors encourage students to become good stewards of their fiscal resources by equipping them with the tools necessary to achieve their short and long-term financial goals.
Savvy Saints Mentors: St. Scholastica currently has two financial mentors, Cody Brostrom and Jason Kazlauskas, to work with students on advancing their personal finance knowledge. Watch for activities sponsored by our student mentors. Our next event will be our Life Event, which will be held on Wednesday January 28 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Benedictine Commons in Science. Stop by for a quick 10 minutes to see how your future career will hold up to the real life financial world. Be entered into a drawing to win either a $50 Super One gift card or a $50 Holiday gas card! You can also visit Cody and Jason at the table in the Student Union next week to learn about other upcoming events, or watch for posters around campus, or the WellU Facebook page. Please feel free to send questions to Savvy Saints at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please email Savvy Saints if you would like to set up a one-on-one meeting to set up a personal budget.
OneStop Student Services: onestop.css.edu
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): www.fafsa.gov
Federal student loan information: www.studentloans.gov
Keep track of your Federal student loans, or view your Federal student loan servicer: www.nslds.ed.gov
Credit and Credit Cards
Have you been told to stay away from credit cards in the past? Credit cards tend to have a bad reputation because individuals use them irresponsibly to make purchases they don't have the money for. They then make the minimum payment toward the balance each month, creating a high balance that accrues monthly interest. This is how people find themselves in credit card debt. However, using a credit card responsibly will allow you to establish a credit history and build good credit. There are two components to credit, or your credit history: the credit report and the credit score.
Your credit report gives potential lenders basic information about you, your accounts, and your payment history. It tracks all credit-related activities and sources of credit, including student loans, credit card accounts, etc. The information contained in the report is used to determine your credit score. You can check your credit report for free three times a year (one for each credit bureau) at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Your credit score, or FICO score, is an easy-to-read number between 300 and 850 that represents your risk to lenders (the higher the number the better). You can think of your credit score as your "financial GPA."
Below is a descriptions of credit scores:
Credit Score Grade Equivalent
800 and above (13% of US population) A+
750-799 (27% of US population) A
700-749 (18% of US population) B
650-699 (15% of US population) C
600-649 (12% of US population) C-
550-599 (8% of US population) D
500-549 (5% of US population) D-
499 and lower (2% of US population) F
Lenders then take this number and, with a few other pieces of information such as your salary and age, decide if they'll lend you money for credit like a credit card, mortgage, or car loan. They'll charge you more or less for the loan (i.e., the loan's interest rate) depending on your score, which signifies the level of risk you carry as a borrower. While you may not be worried about borrowing money today, three or four years down the road, you might need to start thinking about how to pay for a house, car, or wedding. A good credit score can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest charges. The higher the score, the lower (or better) the interest rate. You can check your credit score at www.myfico.com for approximately $8. Some credit cards, e.g. Discover, allow you to check your credit score for free by logging into your online account.
How can credit cards help?
Because 35% of your credit score is based on payment history and 15% is based on your history's length, using a credit card responsibly is a great way to establish good credit and improve your credit score. You can start by using a credit card to pay a bill each month such as your phone bill or Netflix subscription. You can set up automatic payments to ensure your bills are paid in full and on time. For example, by logging into your Netflix account, you can set your subscription to be paid with your credit card each month when it comes due. You can then log into your credit card account and set your bill to be paid in full at the same time each month with the money in your checking account. Make sure to set it for a date you know there will be enough money in your account, such as a few days after you receive your paycheck. The less you have to think about it, the better!
For more information on credit reports, credit scores, and using credit cards responsibly, please visit www.cashcourse.org.
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