Unity One Credit Union

Be Financially Prepared for College

Mon, Jul 31, 2017 @ 03:21 PM / by Miriam Carrillo posted in student loans, college students

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shutterstock_686959522 (small).jpgThe start of a new school year is right around the corner, which also means it’s that time of the year when you have to open your wallet as wide as you can to pay for tuition and fees, room and board, books, meal plans and what feels like an endless list of other college-related items!

Of course we understand that college is expensive and not everyone is able to pay for it out of their pocket, which is why we offer the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan to our members!  This private student loan option provides an array of first-class features and benefits, including: 

  • Low Fixed and Variable interest rates*
  • 25% interest rate reduction just for graduating*
  • 25% interest rate reduction when you sign up for Auto Debit payments*
  • Choice of three repayment options and two repayment terms*
  • No origination or disbursement fees
  • Cosigner release option*

So, if you find yourself needing additional money to help cover your college costs, and all financial aid has been exhausted, be sure to check out the Texas Extra Credit Education Loan!  

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* All rates and benefits are dependent on qualified applicants meeting certain requirements and conditions. For complete details about Texas Extra Credit including program specifics, eligibility requirements, repayment examples, repayment options and benefits, or to apply, click the link above.

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Credit union informs: School Your College-Bound Child

Thu, Jun 11, 2015 @ 01:14 PM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in student loans, high school students, Unity One Credit Union, college students

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(Source: Home & Family Finance® Resource Center)

shutterstock 116888941 smallThe SATs scores are in, the fat envelope has arrived, and soon your high-school senior will become a college freshman. You've done your best to provide your child with the common sense and confidence necessary to face the heavy dose of reality that comes with landing on a college campus. But have you had "the talk"? The money talk, that is.

While there likely have been many discussions regarding allowances, the value of a hard-earned buck, and filling up the piggy bank for a rainy day, college requires a level of financial responsibility that will be new terrain for many incoming college freshmen.

The College Board, New York, estimates that the average in-state public college tuition for the 2013-14 academic year is $22,826, while a private school college is on average $44,750. That's a hefty sum for one year of education, and it doesn't factor in the necessary extras: books, lab fees, food, room and board, and other incidentals. It's these extras that often catch students off-guard.

As a parent, you may have thought it was your responsibility to help your college-bound child secure tuition—either by providing him or her money, encouraging good academic habits for scholarships, or by co-signing student loans. However, in the big picture of college finances, tuition may be the least of the worries. With a challenging job market and slow economy, now isn't the time for your freshman to be saddled with unnecessary debt.

Deter disaster with some dialogue. Sophia Bera, a certified financial planner and founder of Gen Y Planning of Crystal, Minn., suggests that parents have regular discussions with their children about money so that the topic isn't taboo. "If money issues aren't dealt with or discussed, this only leads to bigger and bigger money issues," says Bera.

Not sure what topics to tackle? These conversation starters will get you going.

shutterstock 124152937 smallBegin with a budget: "What bills, fees, and expenses will you have?"

If your student has been relying on you for cash, don't expect him or her to know much about bills. Sit down and plan a budget together. Visit the website of the college's financial aid office, which is where things such as tuition costs are listed. Other items to consider:

  • Room and board: Will your child be living in a dorm or off-campus? There are pros and cons to both but, in a dorm, he or she won't have to worry about energy bills, security deposits, and setting up Wi-Fi. Dorms are sometimes mandated for incoming freshman, but if not, be sure your child understands all the expenses involved with living in a rental.
  • Food: Meals typically are provided with room and board when living on campus. However, students will at times need to grab lunch when in all-day classes, order pizza for a late night study session, or just take a break from cafeteria food.
  • Fees: While not all classes will have added fees, it greatly depends upon the area of study. Science and art classes tend to have fees involved since labs and equipment are required.
  • Books and supplies: Books are expensive—even used books cost a lot of money. While students usually can sell books back at the end of the semester, the money isn't available while the books are in use and the amount returned will be nowhere near what students originally paid. And then there are supplies needed for class projects and everyday homework. Toner cartridges, rulers, calculators, and poster board all can add up quickly.
  • Travel: This isn't about spring break destinations, but instead getting between college and home during semester breaks or when a little family time (or laundry doing) is needed.
  • Entertainment: As much as you hope your student will be in class, eating, or studying, the reality is that he or she also will be going to concerts, movies, and various campus events—all of which cost money.

Role assignment: "Who pays for what?"

With a better understanding of all the costs involved, your graduating senior needs to understand where the money comes from to pay for it all. If your student is taking out student loans, for instance, a good budget can help him or her not take out more than is needed simply because it's available. Regardless of the financial aid source, the most important thing is to help your child understand the breakdown of the money available during a set time. For example, if the travel budget is $1,000 a semester, calculate how many trips home that means. Does it also need to include things like gas money while on campus, bus passes for getting around, or monthly parking fees?

Jodi Okun, founder of College Financial Aid Advisors of Seal Beach, Calif., lists "financial literacy" as a priority topic in the money conversation. "Students need to begin to think about what is involved financially," says Okun, who believes that finances and budgeting are part of going to college and becoming an adult.

shutterstock 167805674 smallSeeing red: "What will you do if you run low on money?"

Even the most responsible of kids will run into money struggles once in a while: a class had more fees than expected, a student loan didn't arrive to the bursar's office in time, or a wallet was lost. Whatever it is, how will you, as a parent, advise your child? Here are two schools of thought:

  • Get a job: Campuses and local communities offer all kinds of entry-level employment opportunities for students. While students' academics need to remain a priority, a part-time job can help balance expenses and build some working experience to add to a blank résumé.
  • Sink or swim: Students who always can rely on parents to bail them out will have a harder time making financial decisions with confidence because they simply haven't had the practice. Assess the situation your student is in, and gauge your response based on the severity of the issue. Return to the budget and see if areas can be trimmed to make up for a deficit. If not, can he or she pick up a few more work hours for the next week or two, for example, to strike a balance?

Good debt, bad debt: "Are you going to get a credit card?"

A 2013 study conducted by Ohio State University shows that college-age children will take on an average of $5,689 more credit card debt than their parents and grandparents did at the same age. They also will hold on to this debt longer—well into their 70s.

Credit cards are not all bad, though. "If [a student] is super responsible with money, then using a credit card and paying it in full each month is a great way to build credit," says Bera. "However, if having a credit card will make [him or her] spend more money than earned, it might be a better plan to avoid them altogether."

When discussing credit cards with your child, stress these important tips: Use wisely and don't charge more than you can pay off when the monthly bill comes. Check out credit card options at your credit union. As not-for-profit institutions, credit unions generally offer better rates on credit cards—up to two percentage points lower than the average bank card rate.

The day you drop your child off at campus will be here before you know it. Make sure the tears you have when you drive away are happy ones, not ones filled with worry for your son or daughter's financial security. Have the money talk now, and many times—even once the college career has commenced. Listen, advise, and help your child find on-campus resources, a campus or hometown credit union for example, to help plant the seeds of independence. You helped them with their first baby steps; it's really no different when it comes to money.

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Credit union informs: Three college scholarships available!

Thu, Jan 15, 2015 @ 09:30 AM / by Alyssa Guillory posted in high school students, scholarship, Unity One Credit Union, college students

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Bob BennettUnity One Credit Union is currently accepting applications for the 2015 Bob P. Bennett Memorial Scholarship. This year, we've added two additional book scholarships for a total of three! The winning entrant will receive a $1,000 grand prize scholarship. Two runners-up will receive a $250 book scholarship. 

This year's entry topic is to explain the difference between a credit union and other non-traditional businesses in the financial service industry. Scoring is based on a completed application and an essay or video entry. Deadline to enter is April 30, 2015. 

To be eligible for the Bob Bennett Scholarship, candidates must be graduating seniors or college students attending a two-year or four-year college or vocational/technical school. They need to maintain a 2.8 grade point average (on a four-point scale) and be a member of Unity One CU.   

The Bob Bennett Memorial scholarship is a tribute to the life of Robert Bennett, a tireless champion of the credit union movement. He joined Unity One CU in 1954 and served on the Board of Directors until 2002. An advocate of growth and change, Bennett served through five name changes and three mergers. He passed away in December 2002.

Get a Scholarship Application now!

ABOUT UNITY ONE CREDIT UNION

Established in 1927, Unity One Credit Union is the oldest credit union in Texas. A member-driven and not-for-profit cooperative, Unity One CU served the employees and families of the BNSF Railway for 70 years. However, after transferring its corporate headquarters to Fort Worth in 1998, the credit union expanded its field of membership to include other non-railroad companies, organizations and individuals.

Today, anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Fort Worth, Blue Mound, Saginaw, Haslet, Keller, Colleyville, Bedford, North Richland Hills, Southlake, St. Paul, MN and Kansas City, KS may apply for membership. Unity One CU has seven branches to serve over 30,000 members nationwide. For more information about Unity One Credit Union, visit www.unityone.org. Think outside the bank.™ www.unityone.org

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Credit union informs: What every college students need to know

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 @ 04:41 PM / by Erayne Hill posted in credit union, Unity One Credit Union, college students

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By Morgan Kelsey, Texas Tech incoming sophomore and credit union advocate

credit union advocate

There are many expectations for college students and graduates. What are you going to do with your life? What field are you going into? On top of these questions, there are the lingering questions you have for yourself like, how will I pay for this student loan? When and where will I get a job? Do I need to move back in with mom and dad? Every student has these anxieties of school, but it is how you handle them that will make life more enjoyable and bearable.

 

Here are some things that you can do to reduce the stress of college and your future:

  • When you first get to college, have an idea of what you would like to do. know by the time you graduate, and know what the average salary is regarding the profession you choose.
  • Have a basic understanding of investing your cash.
  • Have a credit card; begin building credit early and responsibly. Credit is used for almost everything from apartment applications to mortgage and car loans. When you have a credit card make your payments on time monthly so you don’t get bad credit. Falling behind in payments is the best way to get bad credit.
  • Have the ambition to pursue a job that you may be under qualified for and the humility to accept a position that you may be overqualified for.
  • Have a budget planned out. Make a list of all your fixed expenses and an estimate of your variable expenses. Seeing your expenses all at once will make you aware of what you have left to save and spend.
  • Have a plan of attack for the student loans. Know how much you owe, when you need to begin paying them off and the monthly payment.
  • Have an understanding of money management. Being financially literate is extremely important for your future. There are many resources you can utilize and that are geared towards young adults.
  • Connections are important. Even if they’re a professor you were friendly with or a classmate that is already employed, contacts are useful. According to an ABC News report, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking. They can serve as mentors, a listening ear, and a possible referral for a job.
  • Sign up for a LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one.
  • Have knowledge of statistics of how graduates are faring in the workforce.
  • Face the fact that you may have to move back home. Sit down with your parents and have a discussion about their expectations of you and if they have a deadline for you to get a job or move out. See if they expect you to help contribute to the house and discuss your anxiety with them. Having these discussions will help your relationship with them stay clear.
  • Get the tools to be financially successful. Opening a checking account is the first step to the adult world of finances.
  • Set aside 10% of every paycheck to start building a nest egg for your future.
  • Even though you are just now starting to work, start thinking about retirement and begin setting up a retirement fund.
  • Know that you are not alone and that 50% of recent grads are unemployed or underemployed.

Unity One Credit Union offers products and services that help parents and young adults adjust to life transitions. The best place to start is a credit union. And don't let the myth that credit unions are not convenient deter you. Credit unions like Unity One offer 24-7 access to accounts.

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