Students and parents are already gearing up for college payment decisions, so we put together a student loan miniseries on our Youtube Channel to help get the knowledge out there. #MyCollegeCorner features weekly updates, so subscribe to stay on track with your plan. Today’s episode covers subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Stay tuned for insight on Parent Plus in upcoming episodes.
Times are changing! It was an exciting #AmericaSavesWeek Feb 27-March 4 and much was learned. Check your socials for #ASW17 or #ASW2017 for loads of financial wisdom and motivation from a variety of institutions. If you ever wonder if it’s making an impact, remember a new generation “Gen-Z” grew up in the “Financial Crises” era with a different view of money not seen since the Great Depression, so get ready to roll out even more financial literacy content to support their goals and share prosperity!
“Yet Gen Z were shown to be a generation of savers having grown up post-financial crash, with 25% saying they would rather save for the future than spend money they don’t have and 22% saying they never spend on “unnecessary, frivolous things” because saving is so important. These attitudes were shared with the Silent Generation, with 43% and 25% of respectively.”
The study also notes that this is a generation that grew up with the internet and is accustomed to information being made available quickly on any modern device. It’s a long way from the dial-up modem days!
Feel old yet? THINK AGAIN! Traditional institutions like banks, credit unions, educational non-profits and 529 providers are in position to grow using a combination of new technology and time tested wisdom already present in your culture. Technology is more socialized with Gen Z to where expectations for simple online tools has grown. They have goals and want to move forward. Will your organization help or hinder this process? Here’s a few ideas:
What is your narrative? Even if you think your organization doesn’t have one, or maybe it’s to “maximize shareholder value” (No small feat), your group’s goals are a piece of the greater story Gen-Z is living through. Are you helping them get where they want to be? If the answer is a resounding “YES” then stick to it and continue to empower Gen-Z with your traditions adapted up to new technology. Yes, you can promote financial literacy to a new generation of savvy savers and they want to engage your organization to do so!
Your content can provide both sides of the story: Let’s face it, it’s a noisy environment on social media. There appears to be a storm in every news cycle, and the cycles are happening faster than ever! The good news is your organization does not need to pick sides on hot media topics (Education, Healthcare, Government are astoundingly media driven at times), it just needs to know both sides of the story. If you are sticking with a principled narrative, you help people guide themselves through any situation using your concepts and ideas. Gen Z is very aware that a single story may be interpreted in many different ways, so instead of pushing an agenda, keep it simple and show both sides of the story while promoting honest dialogue. Keep your comments section open to allow different views to participate and communicate perspective on your content.
Help with decision making first: There’s a lot of options! We’ve learned this first hand at Invite Education with software covering the financial variables related to college attendance. With over 4,000 institutions of higher learning plus a huge scholarship database, the best thing we can do is provide transparency and financial literacy fundamentals to help families make smart decisions. We realize there is no perfect “one way” for everyone, so we take a “Consumer Reports” approach to the question of college choice. This way anyone can use the resources and find what they need. Just let people make their own personal decisions with your organization’s assistance. This is far removed from the days of pushing product first on radio or tv. It’s about targeting the goals of your audience first and providing value with products/services supporting those goals featured second. Gen-Z is ready to move their life forward, are you ready to help?
Learn more about Invite Education; Subscribe to the Youtube Page for great interviews, college planning advice and more.
Visiting colleges is fun, but with all the excitement, it’s easy to miss some important lasting details that can make (or break) a campus experience.
Know the costs before you go: Make comparing campuses easy by knowing the tuition, room, board and expenses before the visit. This way you can enjoy the experience while being practical about the value provided and how it can be paid for.
Try the food: Meal plans have a variety of options to match student needs and schedule. Stop by the cafeteria or other food vendors on campus to look for….
- Quality: Is the food worth the cost of the meal plan? Is there enough fresh food available to keep students healthy and energized?
- Access: Where is the cafeteria and what’s the time schedule? Are there multiple food locations open at different hours serving different food?
Talk to the students: Ask about their experience and why they chose the school. What do they like best, or are there some things they want to see improved? Hearing it directly from current students can provide great insight to make a decision.
What’s the campus like? A campus can change rapidly depending on the day of the week. Big events and sports will take over space, especially during football season. Other schools may be very busy during the week and very quiet on weekends. Compare schools considering their percentage of resident and commuter students to recognize differences in campus life.
Class drop-ins: If possible, stop into a class room to listen and learn. Be on the look out for teachers in majors you are interested in. Ask questions about their respective programs and gauge your own interest in pursuing more knowledge. How would you handle class in this environment?
Facilities: A campus is made up of many buildings and locations. Gyms, class rooms, labs and parking are just some of the things in plain view, but while on tour look for details like how spacious or crowded it was and the ability to navigate between buildings. Ideally, you are looking for very safe, clean and well managed locations. Most importantly, how’s the internet connection?
There’s no doubt that college is expensive. Just ask any parent helping their son or daughter enroll this fall, or even file the FAFSA in preparation for next year. College affordability is at the heart of the issue, but real potential solutions to the problem can be swept away under the daily sound bytes generated during this aggressive political season. But politics aside, there is no easy fix for college affordability regardless of voter preference, leaving families to decide on their own how to navigate. Let’s consider how financial literacy helps manage decisions about college affordability.
“It’s cheaper to save than to borrow”: Parents that recently started a family, and even more recently paid off their student loans are very debt conscious, perhaps spurring the trend of greater college savings. The “How America Saves for College 2016” report from Sallie Mae shows that a full 57% of families are now saving for college, a 9% swing in just the past year. In particular, it’s millennial parents taking the lead on goal setting and developing a plan to pay for college, all hallmarks of financial literacy teachings. It’s inferred from these findings that new parents recognize the importance of education, but are wary of student loans. While Washington needs to work out the student loan mess, families are taking control of their savings plans to make a smarter and more affordable investment in higher education.
Using college financial calculators: It’s easier now than ever to make and compare estimates on college costs, student loan repayment and savings, helping families look at the big picture first. Before zeroing in on a college choice, it’s wise to take a look at a wide variety of options for perspective. Consider questions like potential financial aid eligibility versus the sticker price of select schools, or if the lowest priced option is really the best fit. These questions are simplified with use of financial calculators as reasonable comparisons are grounded in logic, ensuring informed decisions on college choice.
Power of compound interest: Long term savers know one big secret. Over time their money can grow with the power of compound interest. Financial literacy helps families harness the power of compound interest through simple knowledge, like demonstrated with the “Rule of 70”, to show how money can double over time. While financial calculators help with the details, the impetus behind saving begins with the motivation to start early, rather than later, to make college more affordable.
Identify college value: Know thyself! If financial literacy can teach us one thing, it’s that everyone needs to make their own choices based on their own needs. Financial literacy helps with perspective on this issue, recognizing that college value really depends on individual factors managed on the personal level. When weighing the many variables, from majors, school reputation, and internships and compare them to facts like costs, student loan debt and out-of-pocket expenses a pattern is revealed. Some colleges will be too expensive while others may be a bargain relative to the needs of the student. Using practical teachings from financial literacy promotes sound decisioning through the process to make the college experience an affordable one.