Smart Cents is a financial wellness program developed by the Financial Aid Office to give students the information they will need to make the important financial decisions they will face during school and after graduation. Smart Cents series offers a variety of programs to educate you on critical financial aid and financial literacy topics. Beginning with orientation and continuing throughout your time at DMU, we provide a variety of resources about student loans, identity theft, budgeting basics, loan repayment programs and other important issues. Through presentations, workshops, open houses, and one-on-one counseling sessions with Financial Aid staff, we’ll give you the tools to navigate challenging financial decisions throughout your enrollment and after you leave DMU.
Presentations and Workshops
NSLDS, Know Your Loan Servicer and Financial Aid Web Page
Learn how to use the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), the US Department of Education’s central database for student aid to find your loan servicers. In addition, NSLDS is where you can monitor your borrowing level and student loan debt. Regular monitoring allows you to remain conservative in your borrowing and keep your overall debt level as low as possible. Get more acquainted with four of the major federal loan servicers. Bring your laptop and we’ll help you sign in, set up an account and access your information on your loan servicer’s website. This presentation will also introduce you to the Financial Aid web page, where you can find resources and information to enhance your experience with the financial aid process.
Federal Loan Repayment Strategies
Paying off your student loans takes smart planning and programs are constantly evolving. Review recent and proposed changes to loan repayment plans and forgiveness programs, including the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan, Pay As You Earn Plan and the Revised Pay As Your Earn Plan. This presentation covers loan repayment strategies for students of all programs, as well as methods for loan repayment during residency. It also addresses important differences between federal and private loans and how to manage both during repayment.
State of Iowa Loan Repayment Programs
Are you interested in working in rural Iowa after graduation or residency? Did you know you can get help paying your loans if you do? This presentation introduces students in our clinical programs to loan repayment programs offered through the state of Iowa, including: the Healthcare Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPRP), the Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program (RPC) and the Rural Iowa Physician Assistant Loan Repayment Program (RPA). A representative from the Iowa College Aid Commission (ICSAC) will be on hand to answer your questions.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country. This session shows you how to protect your personal information and prevent identity theft and what to do if you become a victim of identity theft.
Get Financially Fit
Whether it’s consumer debt or your student loan debt, it’s always important to know what you owe. Learn how to set up a budget to track your expenses and find ways to cut costs so you can decrease the amount of student loans needed from year to year. We’ll help you differentiate between your needs and wants and to live like a college student while in graduate school.
The midpoint of your academic program is a good time to reevaluate your borrowing. Many students are not aware of their current debt level or how much they are on track to borrow by graduation. This presentation will help you understand your borrowing needs and budget expenses for your final years to help you make changes to positively impact your financial future.
All graduating students with financial aid are required to attend an exit presentation and complete exit loan counseling online. The exit sessions are split up between graduates entering the workforce and graduates entering residency. Exit sessions cover grace periods and undergraduate loans, working with loan servicers, loan repayment strategies and loan forgiveness and repayment programs; everything you need to know to be successful in managing student loan debt after graduation.
Special Events and Services
Financial Literacy Panel of Experts
Smart Cents invites four members of our community to participate in a Financial Panel of Experts. Our panel consist of two financial planners, a real estate agent and a DMU alum. The panel focuses on answering your personal financial questions such as; any real estate questions, questions about consumer debt, retirement planning questions, and get insight into how a DMU Alum managed their loans. This is a great opportunity for our students and their significant other to have access to these professionals that they may otherwise not have access to.
Financial Aid Open House
Financial Aid hosts an open house every year for students to ask financial aid questions and learn more about applying for financial aid.
One-on-One Loan Counseling Sessions
The Financial Aid Office offers one-on-one loan counseling sessions throughout the year. These sessions provide an opportunity to come in and discuss any financial aid questions you may have, including budgeting, lowering loans, loan repayment strategies and loan repayment and forgiveness programs. We’ll email offers to set up appointment throughout the year, but you’re free to come by any time and speak with Financial Aid staff.
Celebrated on September 17, Constitution Day commemorate the U.S. Constitution with educational programs for students, faculty, and staff. Look for the programs on the Financial Aid web page.