Financial Literacy

College is a time of newfound freedom for many students. That can spell trouble if that freedom applies to personal finances, too. Students need to understand basic money management skills such as living within a budget and handling credit and debt. A solid financial foundation can lead to a lifetime of financial success.

To help you build that solid financial foundation Holyoke Community College is providing SALT, a new membership program, as a gift to all students. SALT will help you take charge of your finances, look for jobs and internships, access exclusive discounts and deals, and understand loan repayment options if you have student loans. Plus, it will always be free to our students. Always.

Check out the following informative podcast on student loan scams:

Student loans can be confusing. There are many different types of loans, and it can be overwhelming to determine what kind of loan is best for you to borrow. Also, once in repayment, there are many options for repayment plans and consolidation.

Topics of Interest

Provided by SALT:  "How can I be in default? No one called me ..."

SALT Blog Post created by keithc on Apr 5, 2017

I hear this a lot as a Salt® student loan counselor-especially this time of year, with borrowers losing their tax refunds to defaulted student loans. The truth is, loan servicers always try to contact you if your loan is delinquent and drifting toward default. Unfortunately, the contact information they have might be out of date.
Are you still using the same address, phone number, and email address from when you started school? If not, you might not get the information you need to stay in control of your loans and protect your credit. You can easily fix this, though!

Get In Touch With Your Loan Servicer
Make sure they're able to contact you. If you're not sure how to contact them, go to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®). That's the federal government's central database for student loan information. There, you can find out who is servicing all your federal student loans, as well as how much you owe and other important loan details.

When They Do Contact You, Pay Attention
Now that you know your servicer, be on the lookout for information from them. Check your spam filter once in a while. And if you get a phone call from a number you don't know? Well, to be honest, I don't always answer those calls either. But at least listen to the voice mail.
"But I don't need to open all their emails. I'm still in school." I hear that a lot, too. Maybe they're emailing you because they don't know you're in school. Perhaps you're just taking one class or "taking a semester off but going back in the fall." In these cases, you'd be enrolled at less than half-time status. That means your grace period would have already begun, and after that, repayment starts.

Know Your Options
If you stay informed and in contact, you'll have a better chance of staying out of default. You have options to pull your loan out of default (rehabilitation, consolidation), or avoid it altogether depending on how late your payments are. But ignoring the situation and your servicer definitely won't help things.

150% Time Limitation on Loan Subsidy

This legislation limits the timeframe for which you are eligible to receive the subsidy on Federal Direct student loans and it impacts students considered to be new borrowers after July 1, 2013. New borrowers include:

  • Those who have never borrowed a Federal Direct student loan prior to July 1, 2013
  • Those who have previously borrowed, but have a zero balance due as of July 1, 2013

This legislation limits Federal Direct Subsidized loans to 150% of the length of a student's academic program. For example, new student borrowers in a two-year program can only receive subsidized loans for three years. The length of time is measured in academic years. Students who reach this limit may be eligible for Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans if they are otherwise eligible to receive them.

Furthermore, students who reach the 150% point and have not yet completed their program will lose the subsidy on all outstanding subsidized loans. The loans do not enter repayment at this point; however, the borrower becomes responsible for paying the interest rather than the government. This limit is based on the amount of time a student is enrolled in a program and not the amount the student borrows (with some exceptions). Less than full-time enrollment status will impact the length of time a borrower is eligible for the interest subsidy. The legislation was passed in hopes of encouraging students to complete programs of study more quickly and allowances are granted when a student completes a degree/certificate within the 150% timeframe.

It is important to note that this is separate from Satisfactory Academic Progress, aggregate loan limits, and the Pell grant lifetime eligibility used limits. Approval of Satisfactory Academic Progress appeals will not extend the length of time in which you will qualify for the subsidy on student loans. This is very new and complicated legislation. The Department of Education is still trying to find out the logistics of how some of this will all work and they continue to offer information to us as it is available. If you would like more information we encourage you to come to the HCC Financial Aid Office during our regular business hours to meet with the counselor-on-call. They can assist you in reviewing your borrowing history and explaining how this legislation will impact you.

Read additional information from the U.S. Department of Education.


As part of an initiative to ensure that Holyoke Community College students are financially literate for their lifetime, Holyoke Community College has partnered with American Student Assistance (a nonprofit organization that delivers quality delinquency prevention services) to create a free debt management and financial education program for our current Holyoke Community College students, as well as our alumni. This new product is called SALT.

What is SALT?

SALT was created by American Student Assistance, a nonprofit organization, to help current Holyoke Community College students like you become more financially savvy. This program rewards you for making smart money decisions, and we're providing all of its services to you – including your membership – free of charge.

Activating your SALT membership allows you take advantage of members-only features, like:

  • Interactive money management tools that show you how to take control of your finances
  • A personal dashboard that tracks all of your student loans in one place
  • Loan advice from SALT's expert counselors
  • My Money 101-a self-paced, online training resource that teaches you practical money management strategies for budgeting, credit management, and more
  • Access to thousands of jobs and internships to jumpstart your career
  • Exclusive benefits that help you save and spend smart

For more information, visit the SALT website.

Money Management Checklist

No student wants to interrupt his or her education because of financial troubles. Click here for access to a Money Management Checklist to help you manage your financial life while in school. 

How To Cut Student Debt Before, During, And After College

From completing AP courses to cutting back on unnecessary education costs to paying off loans early, these 16 tactics can help you keep student debt low no matter where you are in your education.

Updated: March 21, 2016

What You'll Learn

  • Why you should apply for as many scholarships and grants as possible.
  • How to save on your living expenses during school.
  • What forgiveness options could help you after graduation.

For more information please see the full article by clicking here to visit SALT.

Net Price Calculator

These calculators will help you get an estimate of the amount of grant aid you might expect to receive if you attend HCC full-time and meet all federal and state financial aid eligibility requirements.


Contact us

Questions? Contact the Financial Aid office: