Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hops For Hunger

Financial One Credit Union, as well as Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) is proud to present the third annual Hops for Hunger! On Saturday, March 28th, brewers such as Boom Island, Dangerous Man, Fair State Brewing Coop, Sociable Cider Works and many, many more will be in attendance. Tickets are $35 and that cost includes the entry fee as well as tasting samples from all of the vendors that will be in attendance.

Not only will there be plenty of tasty beer to sample, but this event also includes live music from The
Brandon Projekt and Ash St. Johns Music, a silent auction that will include some awesome prizes, and a raffle if you are feeling lucky. Don’t forget to try some of the amazing food from Chowgirls Killer Catering.

The best part of this event is that all proceeds will go to benefit the Southern Anoka Community Assistance food shelf. SACA is a nonprofit that serves the communities of Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Fridley, and Spring Lake Park. In past years, Hops for Hunger has allowed SACA to purchase 175,000 pounds of food! It will again take place at the Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis, just upstairs from Indeed Brewing.

Financial One Credit Union is excited to be a part of this event and thank you for supporting SACA. Your help allows them to help our local communities. We look forward to seeing you this Saturday evening at Hops for Hunger III! Purchase tickets here:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Student Loans: What not to Do

As a freshman, it’s important to read and understand the promissory note before signing on the dotted line. As many previous graduates have learned, sometimes paying off your student loans is harder than what you bargained for. Here is what NOT to do when it comes to your student loans.

Taking Out Loans When You Do Not Need Them

About 60% of students currently take out student loans. The other 40% get around loans by choosing a cheaper school and paying in cash, finding scholarships that can pay for some of the tuition, or putting off school and working to save up some money. Do not sign accepting the loans if you do not need them.

Taking Every Dollar Offered

Unless you have chosen a very expensive school, you more than likely don’t need to take the maximum amount of money offered by the government. You should evaluate what you truly need and only take out that amount. If you are worried about books and other expenses consider working a part-time job.

Not Keeping Track of Your Paperwork

Whether you are organized or not, throwing away your debt information can hurt you in the long run. Where are you going to send payments if you don’t have your information? If you do lose your paperwork, the National Student Loan Data System is the place to go to try to recover some of your lost information.

Not Making Interest Payments While Still in School

Try setting aside a few dollars a month and putting it towards your student loan interest. While this may be tough to accomplish on a small budget, it can help you out in the long run if you get rid of some of the debt right away. Don’t let the interest capitalize and be added to your overall balance.

Using Your Loans Towards Non - School Related Activities

Using your loans towards non-school related activities. If you are taking extra money out on loans, don’t use it to buy another case of instant noodles. The best thing you can do is to take that check and immediately pay down your student loans. Spending borrowed money on vacations and off-campus housing isn’t necessary. Just because you have a check doesn’t mean you need to spend it.

FAQs on Student Loans

Student loans are known as a hassle. With all the regulations and rules, loans can be a frustrating topic for most students. However, student loans are a great tool that enable students to obtain their education at a university that they normally cannot afford. We took some of the most frequently asked questions and addressed them in this month’s blog.

What are my student loan options?

The most popular loan is the Federal Stafford Loan. This loan is available for most students but is capped well below the cost of most colleges. Another loan is the Federal PLUS Loan. This loan is for creditworthy parents of students. This loan can more than likely cover the full cost of education for any student. The third most popular loan is the Federal Perkins Loan. This loan is made directly by a school to the student. Some schools do not offer this loan, but those that do can decide who to give the loan to based on who needs it the most.

Am I Eligible for a Federal Student Loan?

If you are enrolled in a certified program at an eligible school, you are more than likely eligible for a federal loan. You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. In addition have your high school diploma or GED equivalent. If you have been convicted under any federal or state laws you may not be eligible for aid in certain cases.

What’s the Difference between Federal and Private Loans?

Federal loans are highly regulated by the federal government and include many benefits like fixed interest rates and repayment plans whereas private loans are subsidized and usually more expensive. Most people maximize their federal loans before thinking about taking out a private loan.

How long is my Grace Period?

A grace period is a specific amount of time during which you do not have to make payments towards your student loans. Knowing how long your grace period lasts is crucial so you don’t miss payments. In the terms and conditions section of your promissory note, you will find details about your grace period. If you no longer have the note your school's financial aid office and your lender are excellent resources to assist you with finding out the correct information about the grace period.

Can I Cancel my Student Loans?

Federal student loans can be cancelled but there are very specific conditions you must meet to get your loans cancelled. A successful cancellation means the government must give back any payments you have made and help you try to turn your credit score around. An application form is available, but there may be tax consequences if you decide to go through with the cancellation.