Financial Literacy

What is FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.

Filing begins October 1st! Be sure to file as soon as possible!

You can view a sample SVCC Award Letter HERE.

Financial Aid TV

With Financial Aid TV, students and parents can find answers to general questions without waiting in line at the Financial Aid Office. Financial Aid TV provides 24/7 access to videos that discuss important financial aid topics such as (with a section for our Spanish speakers):

  • Applying for financial aid
  • Types of financial aid
  • Verification Process
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Education Tax Benefits and Credits

Making Money & Scholarships

There are many ways that college students can help to fund their education and make some extra money for bills or to put into savings. College often times means making hard choices including the commitment to complete.

Scholarships are often time overlooked as an alternative way to save money for school. Taking the time to write a personal statement and apply can be an excellent return on investment.


  • Work with your advisor on essays and personal statements
  • You often need community/volunteer experience
  • Foundation scholarships are offered only to SVCC students only

Work Study

  • Apply for Federal Work Study which allows you to work on campus if eligible
  • TRIO is often hiring qualified students as tutors and work studies
  • We offer career workshops on resumes and cover letters


  • Professional experience and resume builder
  • Earn money and an education award (scholarship)
  • Community volunteerism and training pro


Loans may be offered to you as part of your school's financial aid package. It is important to understand that you can decline these loans or return partial/full loans. If you take out a loan you must pay it back with interest. Student must be enrolled at least half time in a qualified program of study. Loan counseling is required through SVCC's financial aid office.

There is a difference between federal and private student loans. Those that come from the federal government usually offer lower interest rates. The William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program is the largest federal student loan program. Under this program the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. ( www.studentaid.gov)

Direct Subsidized

Financial need must be demonstrated. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while student is in school (at least half time), for the first 6 months after you leave school, and during a period of deferment.

Direct Unsubsidized

No financial need requirement. Student is responsible for paying interest on loan during all period at 4.29%.

Direct Plus

PLUS loans are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses. The borrower must not have an adverse credit history. Interest is accrued during all periods of loan at 6.84%.

Credit & Predatory Lending

Culture of Consumption & Credit

"We live a world of immediacy—instant messaging, instant access, instant purchase power. American culture no longer values saving for a pur-chase until it can be paid for in cash. The ‘buy now, pay later’ philosophy is at the heart of the predatory lending crisis." – Nelson Merced, Director of NeighborWorks America

Predatory Lending

Lending Practices that are deceptive, discriminatory, and unfavorable. Often the targets are the working poor, elderly, veterans, minorities, single parents, and those desperate for help. Interest rates are often crippling and push people further into debt. Some things to be wary of when borrow-ing include:

  • • Triple digit interest rates
  • • Short minimum loan term
  • • Single balloon payment
  • • Loan roll-overs
  • • Simultaneous borrowing
  • • No consideration of borrower’s ability to repay
  • • Deferred check mechanism

Credit Cards

Sometimes it’s necessary to borrow for major purchases like an education, a car, a house, or maybe even to meet unexpected expenses. Be careful to keep your credit history strong.

  • • Pay credit card balance in full every month
  • • Pay credit card bill on time
  • • Keep track of charges
  • • Don’t charge what you can’t afford to pay off each month


Credit is important because it can affect your ability to take out a loan, interest rates, insurance, purchasing cars, cell phones, a house, rentals, and even future employment. What is it?

  • • Numeric value applied to your credit history
  • • FICO score is most common (300-800)
  • • Reflects your credit worthiness
  • • Check your credit score free at annualcreditreports.com