Tips for dealing with financial emergencies and financial management.
We hope you are all staying safe and healthy. As a reminder, our coaches will be maintaining financial coaching sessions, and will be reaching out to you to make an appointment. Some of you have already had meetings, but please do not hesitate to contact your coach or me, if you wish to set up a meeting by phone.
We know that this is a difficult time for many students, especially those who may have been laid off or lost a job. If you are facing financial hardship, this is a good time to reach out to your coach for help with your finances.
If you have been laid off from a job or have reduced income, here are some things to think about:
- If you have lost a job, file for unemployment benefits immediately, even if you do not think you qualify. New York State has recently ended the 7-day waiting period, so you can file a claim sooner. You can file for benefits online through the New York State Department of Labor.https://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm
- If you worked for a restaurant chain or in the hospitality industry, check with your employer to see if they are offering any type of relief aid. Some companies are providing employees with food and other types of assistance.
- The government is suspending all federal student loan payments for 60 days, and setting the interest rate on student loans to zero, until at least May 12th so if you owe money on student loans, you will be getting a break. To obtain the 60-day reprieve, borrowers will have to submit a request to their loan servicers, such as Navient, Nelnet, FedLoan Servicing or Great Lakes, over the phone or online.
- The Internal Revenue Service has postponed the tax filing date from April 15 to July 15th. However, if you are expecting a refund, you do not need to wait. You should file as soon as possible in order to get your money more quickly. Please let us know if you need help filing a return.
- Keep in mind that the federal government is in the process of finalizing legislation that would send checks to taxpayers by the end of April. The amount of the payments could vary depending on income and family size, but it is reported that some of the checks could be as high as $1,200. Those who did not earn enough to pay income tax would receive a smaller amount, about $600. Details have not yet been finalized, and not every individual will benefit. We will communicate further information as soon as it becomes available.
Money Smart Financial Coaching Program
The Money Smart Forum offers personal finance tools, resources, and customized advice to help participants manage their money and plan for future success. It is a free service and open to any student on campus.
Participants in the Money Smart Forum can take advantage of:
- One-on-one sessions with a financial coach to help them create a customized financial plan;
- Workshops on a range of personal finance topics offered twice a month, and open to all students; and
- Career readiness activities to help them gain strategies for job search and career exploration.
Outcomes for Students
Every student in the program works with a financial coach to set specific financial goals and to create an action plan. Students accomplishing a set of goals and fulfilling other requirements can earn a Certificate of Achievement to document their completion of the program.
Goals that the students work on include:
- Managing bank accounts
- Creating a budget
- Starting a savings plan with a monthly target
- Reducing credit card debt
- Paying down student loans
- Building credit or starting to build a credit record
- Improving a credit report and credit score
Signing up is easy!
- Interested students can complete a short application form.
- We will then set up an appointment for an introductory meeting with one of our financial coaches.
- After the introductory meeting, students generally meet with their coach for about 30 minutes every other week.
Money Smart Forum Financial Coaching Program Application
Student Success Story: Pablo
Pablo emigrated from Ecuador to the US in 2015, hoping for an opportunity to further his education and build a future. With very few English skills, he enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at Westchester Community College, and in a short time progressed to the highest skill level. He joined the Money Smart Forum in 2018 because he had a goal of pursuing an engineering degree but needed to figure out how to pay for tuition and other expenses. Pablo is now in the process of realizing his ambition. In 2019, he matriculated as a full-time credit student pursuing an AS degree in engineering science. Ultimately, he hopes to transfer to a four-year college to complete a bachelor’s degree in engineering, leading to a career in the automobile industry.
Pablo credits the Money Smart Forum for helping him to understand the basics of the financial system in this country. As Pablo says, “I learned that saving is not an amount, it is about lifestyle choices.” Through using a budget and tracking his expenses, he has been able to accumulate savings that will take him to the next step in his career plan.
Westchester Community College offers a number of pathways to help you prepare for a new career! You can get the skills and knowledge you need by enrolling in a non-credit program, or earn college credits through one of our degree or certificate programs. Perhaps you are not sure what people do or how much money they earn in certain careers? Would you like to know how many jobs are predicted to be available in a particular industry? Or maybe you are unsure whether receiving a non-credit career certification or license would be right for you? Go to https://sunywcc.emsicareercoach.com to explore a variety of career opportunities, their associated job descriptions, and salary and employment trends. Complete a career assessment for additional guidance. Still not sure? Visit www.sunywcc.edu/career for more career resources and contacts.