Career Planning: Building Your Online Profile

Girl at computer

If you are unemployed or are looking for a change, you are likely doing your research on prospective employers. Well, once you apply, they may turn around and do some research on you through social networks and the Internet. Will you be portrayed how you think you should be?

Here are some ways to make sure that your online profile is consistent with your application:
• Setup Google Alerts on yourself. On http://www.google.com/alerts, set up keywords, determine which result types, how often and how many results you want and which email to have alerts delivered. Alerts help make you aware when new articles and content posts on the web with the keywords you choose. This may allow you to identify and correct any inaccurate information about yourself, although remember there are probably millions of other people named “John Smith” who you may receive alerts about too.
• If you have social media profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter, make sure you are presenting yourself how you would want to be perceived by a recruiter. Are your pictures and the comments on your page appropriate for the type of jobs you are applying for? If not, you may want to clean up your pages as best you can and adjust your privacy settings to help reduce the ability for recruiters to see your information.
• Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with your skills and reflects highlights from your resume. Being on LinkedIn helps you gain exposure to many recruiters and can effectively demonstrate your professionalism if you maintain your profile and build your network on the site.

Loan Paying Tips: Using Web Self Service

Our website and mobile site* give you the necessary tools to manage your student loan account online, so you get up-to-date information whenever and from wherever is convenient for you.

- Account payment history
– Details of most recent payment
– Due date and amount due for next payment
– Principal balance remaining on the account
– Pay-off amount based on day you plan to pay it off
– Loan details – interest rate, principal balance, school code, date disbursed, etc.
– Online payment options
– Information and forms to apply for repayment plans
– Tax documentation
– Mortgage verification
– Access secure email with customer service professionals
– Sign up for Auto Debit and Paperless Correspondence

*Some services may be limited on the mobile-optimized site

How to Create an Online Account
Creating a New User login just takes a few minutes and establishes a secure way to manage your account online. When setting up your account, don’t forget to Go Paperless.

Go Paperless – Receive Information from MOHELA Quickly and Easily
Sign up for paperless and enjoy the convenience of electronic MOHELA communications including viewing your bills and important documents on our secure website. Going Paperless not only makes it easier for you to receive communications from MOHELA, it helps the environment.

Signing up for our Paperless service will provide you with:
• Faster delivery and time savings
• Access to correspondence 24/7 from anywhere
• Easier document storage through a secure online account

If you already have an online account, you can still sign up for paperless.

Loan Paying Tips: Things to Know about Your Loan Transfer

Moving VanMoving is usually filled with excitement, but also some questions. Will we like where we’re moving? How will it impact my life? Who do I ask if I have questions?

These common questions also apply when loans move between servicers. That’s why we have created a website solely to help answer your questions. Visit mohelaloantransfer.com to get answers to FAQs about MOHELA loan servicing, your loan status and payment, MOHELA’s loan account services, late payment concerns and the status of applications for repayment plans.

If your question isn’t answered in the FAQs or you would like more information about the transfer, we can be reached 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (CT) Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CT) Friday at 888-866-4352. We look forward to working with you.

Family Budgeting: Ways to Save This Back-to-School Season

Back to School pencils

Back to School pencils

When you’re paying back student loans while raising children, every penny counts. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2013 Back-to-School Survey, families with school-age children will spend an average of $634.78 on school apparel and supplies this year. Here are some ways to save as you shop this year:
• Check weekly ads for deals on basic supplies. You may find unexpected deals on things like pens and loose-leaf paper at your grocery store.
• Swap. Connect with parents of kids that are the same gender and around the same age as yours. Swap outgrown clothes and books.
• Sell outgrown clothes. Find local resale shops that will buy your kids’ used (good condition) gear. You can make a few dollars to offset the cost of Back to School time. You may also find a great deal on some slightly used clothes that are nice filler for your kids’ closet.
• Wait until Labor Day for clothes. Retailers tend to wait until Labor Day for clothing sales.
• Take advantage of sales-tax holidays. Many states and municipalities offer a tax-free weekend on school supplies, clothes and sometimes even laptops. Make sure you’ve planned your shopping list and know that the deals you’re going out for are worth the tax discount.
• Decorate supplies in unique ways. Let your kids have fun decorating and customizing their supplies. It can save you on more expensive supplies and it helps ensure those items don’t get lost.
• Wait to buy trendier items. If your kids are begging you for the coolest backpack or lunch box, wait until school is in swing to make the big purchase. They may change their mind on what they want most once they see what their friends are bringing.
• Ask for student discounts. Retailers may offer student discounts, and all you have to do is ask. They may want to see a student ID.
• For those purchasing textbooks, shop online. Purchasing used textbooks can save your family a bundle. Check out deals on sites like half.com to see if they have the textbook you need. Make sure you are purchasing through a reputable seller, that it will be delivered in time for classes to start, and that it is the correct version of the textbook.
• Inventory your home. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on clothes and supplies, check storage to see whether your son or daughter really need that new pair of jeans or if they still fit in last year’s pair. When inventorying, you may also find a box of markers or pens you forgot you had.
• Plan meals and snacks. Check out what’s on sale in your local grocery stores, and plan your meals around the specials. You can also save time and money by doing a local food swap with neighbors or family members who live close by. If one family is in charge of purchasing and making food for the week, they can get bulk pricing and you only have to worry about time spent planning and shopping on select weeks.

Family Budgeting: Can’t Afford Your Monthly Payment Because of a Pay Cut or Unexpected Medical Expense?

Learn How Your Student Loan Provider Can Help

HeartbeatHave you recently lost a job or taken a pay cut? Did you have an unexpected medical expense that is squeezing your budget? MOHELA is here to help our borrowers successfully repay their loans. We know that there may be times when your currently monthly payment amount is difficult to manage. That is why we offer several different types of repayment plans and payment options based on the unique needs and eligibility of our borrowers.

To learn about getting into a repayment plan that can help lower your payments, visit mohela.com and click “Lower Your Payments” on the left hand column. If you expect your financial hardship to be for a short period of time, a deferment or forbearance may be a better option for you. Check out the options on our website and contact us if you have questions. We’re here to help!

Loan Paying Tips: Loan Consolidation 101

Sliced red appleConsolidation loans combine multiple student or parent loans into one bigger loan. For borrowers with multiple federal loans, Federal Direct Consolidation Loans offer numerous benefits:
• Payment management is simpler with one loan servicer and one monthly payment.
• Multiple repayment plan options including income-driven repayment plans may be available, based upon meeting eligibility requirements.
• Eligibility for deferment options may be renewed or modified.
• Subsidy benefits remain on the subsidized portion of the consolidation loan.
• Consolidation is free.

Federal Direct Consolidation loan basics:
• Eligible borrowers must have at least one Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL). The borrower can: (1) consolidate a delinquent Federal Consolidation Loan that the lender has submitted to the guaranty agency for default aversion; (2) consolidate a defaulted Federal Consolidation Loan; (3) consolidate a Federal Consolidation Loan to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program; or (4) consolidate a Federal Consolidation Loan to use the no accrual of interest benefit for active duty service members.
• When loans with different interest rates are combined, the weighted average interest rate will be rounded up to the nearest 1/8th of a percent but will not exceed 8.25%.
• Students and parent borrowers can each consolidate their education loans, but they cannot combine their loans.
• Students cannot consolidate their loans while still in school.

It’s important to remember that when Parent PLUS borrowers consolidate, they may lose their eligibility to defer payments while the student for whom the loan was granted is in-school or post-enrollment. For borrowers who are interested in consolidation and an income-driven repayment plan, it’s important to note that the number of payments applied toward forgiveness on these repayment plans start over when a borrower consolidates (if eligible). Therefore, they may want to consolidate early in repayment.

If you are interested in consolidating loans, click here to do so.

Learn more about the consolidation process and how consolidation may affect your loan limits.

Loan Paying Tips: Ways to Pay

PigPaying loans isn’t always fun, but at least there are ways to simplify managing your payments. MOHELA offers several convenient ways for you to pay your bills. This lets you choose the option to manage payments the way that fits your lifestyle.

• Automatic payment withdrawals – direct withdrawals from your bank account can be made monthly. You can sign up and manage your automatic debit online at mohela.com.
o You may receive a 0.25% interest rate reduction if you sign up for Direct Debit (ACH/EFT).

• Online payments – you can make one-time online payments with checking and savings accounts.

• Phone – You may call 888-866-4352 to make a payment.
o Payment accepted from checking and savings accounts.

• Mail – Depending on which type of loans you are making payments on, you should mail your payments to one of the following addresses. Be sure to send it to the correct address. If you are unsure, call us at 888-866-4352.

Federal student loan borrowers should make checks payable to MOHELA and mail them to the address below.

Department of Education

MOHELA

P.O. BOX 105347

Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5347

FFELP borrowers should make checks payable to MOHELA and mail them to the address below.

MOHELA

PO BOX 1022

Chesterfield, MO 63006

Family Budgeting: Don’t Let Your Budget Wilt In the Summer Heat

Piggy bank on beachIf you’re like us, you are excitedly planning your summer activities and trips. But don’t let the summer sunshine wilt your budget. Here are some tips to make sure you stay on track:

1) Set a realistic budget for the summertime. Anticipate which trips and activities your family plans to do, and calculate your costs for gas, hotels, food, shopping and excursions.

2) Take advantage of travel specials for airfare, hotel rooms and rental cars on sites you trust, such as Expedia.com and Travelocity. Book reservations early.

3) If possible, avoid travelling during peak days and times (peak usually means more expensive). Peak days are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

4) Do your research to find out what activities are available in the location you plan to visit. Better yet, find out from the local visitor’s bureau what they recommend doing while enjoying their location on a budget.

5) If you have examined your budget and travel isn’t in the cards this summer, find inexpensive and fun things to do this summer where you live. Explore the local parks, camp out in your backyard, see new exhibits at your art or history museum, or create a round-robin BBQ group and try out your friends’ best recipes. Take “Day-trips” to neighboring locales.

Regardless of your plans this summer, your budget can thrive with a touch of creativity and a healthy dose of research.

Remember when you go on vacation that you can schedule your payment or make your payment before you go. To schedule a payment, login to mohela.com. Under Payment Assistance, click Pay Online. Then choose the Bill Due Date you want to schedule. You can choose to pay your current amount due or another payment amount, the payment processing date and the payment account.

Loan Repaying Tips: Entering Repayment

Repayment Calculator

Are you a recent graduate? Now is just the beginning of the exciting journey of your professional life. It is also the time to prepare yourself to start repaying any student loans you may have. Here are some things you can do to get started on the right foot to successfully repay your loans.

Understand your repayment terms. Depending on the type of loan(s) you have, your repayment terms may vary. Do you have a grace period before you must start repaying your loan, and how many months is the grace period? It’s also important to know how many months you have to pay off your loan(s), what the interest rate(s) is and whether there are alternative repayment plans available to you. When you have multiple loans to keep track of, having this information organized is key. If you have multiple eligible federal student loans, you may consider consolidating them to make managing payments easier.

For your federal student loans, you can find this on the National Student Loan Data System(NSLDS) at nslds.ed.gov. NSLDS does not have information pertaining to private loans you may have received.

Know Your Loan Servicer. While you are making sure you know the terms for each of your loans, make sure you also find out who holds (or collects) your student loans. Your loans may have transferred from one servicer to another since last time you checked. For your federal loans, this information is also available on NSLDS. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, the school acts as your lender, so contact them if you have questions.

Make sure your loan servicer has your updated contact information and knows when you leave school or graduate.

Calculate your estimated monthly payments. Use a repayment calculator like the one from Mapping Your Future. This may help you create a realistic budget until you receive your first bill from your loan servicer(s).

If you haven’t landed a job quite yet and aren’t able to pay your monthly payment, you are still responsible for repaying your student loans. It’s important that you know you have options. Contact your loan servicer(s) and learn what repayment plans and options may be available to assist you.

Loan Paying Tips: Teacher Loan Forgiveness

Quality teachers are central to a strong educational system. You may be eligible for Teacher Loan Forgiveness if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications. For eligible teachers, forgiveness may be up to a combined total of $17,500 on Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans. Borrowers with PLUS loans only are not eligible for this type of forgiveness.

With Teacher Appreciation Week right around the corner (May 6-10), now is a great time to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply at http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/teacher.