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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.

should you Stop Paying your Student Loans Due To Coronavirus?

Wondering if you should stop paying your loans due to COVID-19? Read this.

Topics of Interest

A loan servicer will help you manage the repayment of your federal student loans – for free!

A loan servicer is a company that handles the billing and other services on your federal student loan. The loan servicer will work with you on repayment plans and loan consolidation and will assist you with other tasks related to your federal student loan. It is important to maintain contact with your loan servicer. If your circumstances change at any time during your repayment period, your loan servicer will be able to help.

Why pay for help with your federal student loans when your loan servicer will help you for free? Contact your servicer to apply for income-driven repayment plans, student loan forgiveness, and more.

Are you wondering...

  • Do I select my loan servicer?
  • Whom do I contact to get information about my loan?
  • Who is my loan servicer? 
  • Will ED ever transfer my federally held loans to a different servicer?
  • Whom do I contact for information about my Federal Perkins Loan?
  • Whom do I contact for information about my FFEL Program loan that isn't owned by ED?
  • Whom do I contact for information about my Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program loan?
  • What should I do if I am contacted by someone who wants to charge me fees to consolidate my federal student loans or to apply for an income-based repayment plan?

...visit the Federal Student Aid website for the answers!

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.

setting up your spring budget

When designing your spring budget, keep these potential season-specific expenses in mind:

  • Mother's Day
  • Graduation gifts
  • Memorial Day
  • Gardening
  • Summer camps and sports
  • Warm-weather clothing and accessories
  • Outdoor entertainment
  • Pool membership
  • Weddings
  • Vacation

Use the CashCourse Monthly Budget Worksheet to make a budget that works for you. To register, click here, type in your information, and select your school. This will allow you access to Holyoke Community College's CashCourse school site.  

budgeting tips

Visit OnYourOwn.org for tips about how to create and stick to a budget. 


Why 529?  
The problem is clear: Student loan debt in America is reaching levels that the U.S. Department of Education deems a crisis. 

Why 529? 
To increase access to higher education and help alleviate the burden of student loan debt on our society.

Why 529?
529 college savings plans are tax-advantaged savings plans that help families save for higher education so they can be less reliant on student loans.

Check out this resource to learn more about the 529 movement and how 529 college savings plans can work for you and your family.

Whether you're planning for college, trying to pay for college, or graduating and thinking about your future, the financial decisions you make today will impact you  well into your future.

Money management, financial literacy, and budgeting are important for you to know and understand to ensure you are making good decisions for your personal finances and your future.

To help you navigate these decisions, Holyoke Community College has partnered with CashCourse, which provides free financial literacy resources for college students via an interactive website devoted to helping students build money management skills, survive in a tough economy, and prepare for success. 

Use CashCourse to
  1. Create a budget
  2. Learn about the benefits of checking and savings accounts
  3. Protect your credit
  4. Plan for retirement
  5. Set financial goals
  6. Read more about financial aid
  7. Learn about so much more!

To register, please click here and then type in your information and select your school. This will allow you access to Holyoke Community College's CashCourse School Site.

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.


ask a question

Got a question about HCC? Chat with us! 
M-F 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.


Contact us

Questions? Contact the Financial Aid office:

Frost 201