Scott: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of Dollars and Cents, Hapo Community Credit Union's financial literacy podcast. This is part two of our paying for college podcast with Jana Kay and Ricky from Washington State University, Tri Cities Financial Aid Department. 

Jana Kay: The GET program, we see students who are paying for their education with those are phenomenal programs.

And again, students or parents just have to get the process started. 

Scott: Absolutely. Yeah. And again, like I mentioned, uh, kind of like we talked about before with the different states having different aid programs, I believe that almost every state, and I can't say for sure because I didn't look up all of them, um, but I know that Oregon has a 529 plan and Utah has a 529 plan.

Some of those are open to just state residents. Some of those are open to, uh, anybody in the United States, the, the, the ability to get into those programs. Is actually pretty wide ranging. And again, one of those things you should look into all the options. Think outside the box. Uh, one of my coworkers has [00:01:00] one, uh, open for her kids in the state of Utah, because when she did her research, it looked like to her that one had, uh, one of the better returns on the investments.

That's good way. Absolutely. That's very smart. So anybody out there that's looking into these savings plans that wants to start early, uh, do a bit of research. Absolutely. Take a look around all the different states, see what you can get with them, double check. Again, uh, like Ricky was saying earlier, look into the details, make sure that you can use it for an in or an out of state.

And like with the Washington State one, like I said, uh, see if there's something that you can do if it ends up not being a tuition. assistance. 

Jana Kay: Well, and even if students are looking out of state, we have programs for, we have a western undergraduate exchange program for non residents where if they made an application date, if they have a 3.

0 GPA, they can get 11, 000 waived off their tuition, which is a good portion of the non resident tuition. [00:02:00] And we have another one for W. S. U. Tri cities. specifically called I 82 Advantage that is a full non resident tuition waiver for residents of Umatilla County. Okay. 

Scott: Umatilla County, for those that don't know, is right on that southern border of, uh, Washington, the northern border of Oregon.

And I 82, Interstate 82, uh, connects, uh, all of us together and is only, what, about a 45 minute drive? 

Ricky: Forty five minutes. Give or take, roughly. 

Scott: Hey, it's a county. 

Jana Kay: And we have, um, Also, it's called the border bill, and that's for other neighboring counties where students can pay in state tuition. They wouldn't be full time.

They're limited with the number of credits they can take. But WSU Tri Cities has the border bill, and WSU Vancouver with their neighboring counties can also use that. Right 

Scott: down there with Portland, uh, yeah. Clark, yep. Like, that feels like very, uh, collaborative and cooperative between the different states.

Do we know [00:03:00] if the Oregon schools have, uh, similar things for the residents of Washington that are nearby? I 

Jana Kay: don't know if Oregon does. I know Idaho does. So W. S. U. Pullman has agreements with Idaho because again, they're eight miles away, I think from the Idaho. 

Scott: It is exactly eight miles. Yeah, 

Jana Kay: there are You know, this, this, it is collaborative between the states because we want to see students move back and 

Scott: forth.

Higher education tends not to be a competition so much as it is a collaboration to, to bring people to get higher education. Accessibility. And accessibility, 

Jana Kay: yeah. Yep, accessibility, affordability, those are things that we focus on. And I, I want to add too, talking about completing the FAFSA, is that Washington State, we have such a generous college grant program, but our FAFSA completion rates in the state of Washington are lower than the nation.

So we're third highest in the amount of funding we give. We're number [00:04:00] eight at the bottom of the list for FAFSA completion. So only, um, I think 50, almost 53 percent nationwide of high school seniors complete the FAFSA. In Washington state it's only 43%. And so there's plenty of aid available in Washington.

But students aren't filling out the application. 

Scott: I wonder how much of this comes back to the idea that, um, either A, uh, my parents are going to help pay for these things, or I, I just assume that they are, or I don't, I don't think that I'm going to be eligible for any money. So why, why bother, uh, again, fill out the application.

They can't tell you yes, if you don't fill it out. That 

Ricky: is correct. But there's also the cultural differences too, that I always see on my end too. So there's those that just don't ask and don't know. And there's also the differences where those people culturally don't want you to go because they don't know any better.

And who are you going to [00:05:00] be listening to? More than likely your elders, your parents. So again, that's where we want to make sure the students either ask so we can help educate them and their parents. Or come in so we can actually talk about it and have a discussion and let them know how it 

Jana Kay: works. And nearly half of our students are first generation college students.

Okay. Yeah. So they likely don't know that these applications are even available. Unless they're learning about it from their high school counselor. Because they don't have someone in their family who knows about it. 

Scott: You, something that you said, Ricky, uh, prompted thought in my head, is there, uh, in your experience a stigma around, I need financial aid and therefore that means I can't do this on my own?

Ricky: Yes. It's simply because a lot of times some people or parents don't want to provide those kind of information, the information needed for their FAFSA. And that's also where some parents believe it's going to be used against them and or They will be held liable if their kids don't complete [00:06:00] or pay it off their loans if they do take them out.

Okay, so yeah that misconceptions there, but again, it's just People not knowing and fully understanding how 

Scott: it works. I was going to say, what you, what you're expected to get out of this education should far outweigh the cost of repaying the, these bits of aid. Well, 

Ricky: that's where it's like, you don't know if it's going to be costing you directly because you haven't filled out that FASFA or the state application.

So WASFA as well, so if you're non, um, documented and you need that state aid, you could use the state aid alone or the fossil, which applies for federal and the state. Also, 

Scott: filling out the FAFSA is not Um, actually taking the money, correct? That's just finding out what you're eligible for. That is correct.

Jana Kay: Yeah. And I, I think part of it is that there's student loans have such a bad reputation. It's a very big topic. And there's such a fear [00:07:00] of taking out too much debt and not recognizing that financial aid is also grants. And pretty much any student who fills out the FAFSA is going to be eligible for some sort of loan.

Some might be better than others. Exactly. Right. Right. Um. Even the loans are a good investment in a student. We talked to a lot of students who are so loan adverse. And, like, I was just telling Ricky, I was meeting with a student last week who has had loans available to him and he hasn't taken them out because he's afraid of having student loan debt.

And he's been putting some of his tuition expenses on a credit card. And the loan has a 5. 5 percent interest rate, no interest accruing while he's in school, a six month grace period after finishing. And he's been paying double digit in interest rates. Yeah. I was 

Scott: going to say a lot of those credit cards can, can be up in that.

Oh yeah. 12, 18 percent range. 

Jana Kay: Yeah. And just, Oh my goodness. It was such a good conversation, but his face, he was like [00:08:00] simultaneously so happy to know that he's got this source of funding. That's more affordable for him. And also a little bit sick to his stomach. 

Scott: A little, probably a little bit of embarrassment of, I can't believe I didn't look at it this way.

Yeah. 

Jana Kay: It's just, again, he's, everything he's heard about student loans has been negative. And yeah, it's 

Scott: kind of the stigma that I was asking about before. Student loans have this interesting stigma that you're going to require like six different jobs and 70 years worth of work to pay them off completely.

Ricky: They vary from person to person. The amount that you take out and the option of not having to pay while you're going to school. That's where the student was, if you have put on your credit card, you're making that monthly payment. Exactly. Now, this one, hey, we have different options for your loans as far as paying them off.

As far as also, hey, different options once you're out of school and you're making your payments. Life happens. Maybe you get married. Maybe you [00:09:00] have kids. Maybe you got sick. Maybe you get injured or you lost your job. You can contact your loan provider and they have options for you so you don't have to stress out about it.

Because life is going to be full of stresses and this is something that you know you 

Scott: can do. Yeah. And if you miss your payments to your credit card company, that's going to be an impact to your credit score pretty much immediately and potentially to your interest rate that you're paying on that credit card.

It could be going from that 12. 99%. You missed a payment. We're going to bump it up to an 18. 99 percent now because of that. Um, so yeah, you could be putting yourself in, into a much, uh, So if you're in a different situation, absolutely because you're stressed about the school work that you're doing and forget to get your payment in on time 

Jana Kay: and the loan providers, there is a delay.

If you miss a payment, they don't report it as quickly. Um, so the average student loan debt for a bachelor's degree is about 36, 000. And. [00:10:00] A good rule of thumb with loans is you don't want to borrow more for your bachelor's degree than you expect to make in your first year after graduation. Okay. And so, you know, nationally it's 36, 000.

For students on our campus who choose to take out loans, the average student loan debt is 

Scott: 19, 000. That's honestly saying it like that doesn't make it sound like this big monstrous thing. 

Ricky: That's where people get that sticker shock. That's ultimately what it is, is people see this, but ultimately when everything's being subsidized by grants and realizing how much is not coming out of your pocket, then that's when people can realize I could actually do this.

And not only that, but. Leaving that burden out from their parents is one thing that why students always pause from going to school as well. Yeah. 

Jana Kay: And again, there are students who are borrowing more than that. There are students who are just qualifying for loans and not qualifying for grants. But it's still an investment.

And that's where we want [00:11:00] students to go to college, finish quickly, be gainfully employed, so they're making money, not Spending money on tuition because a lot of students will think, Oh, I'll go part time because that's more affordable and I won't take out any loans. 

Scott: part time. 

Jana Kay: But then they're in school for eight years when they could have been finished in four and actually earning that 30, 000 more a year than they would have otherwise.

Scott: And while that might work for some people based on their work life. balance. Uh, that might not be the best route for everybody. Cause like you said, our goal here is get the degree, get out there and find a job with value, uh, that comes from that degree so that you're earning that on average 30, 000 a year more and a 

Jana Kay: million more over your lifetime.

Oh, 

Scott: again, 

Jana Kay: definitely 

Scott: at that point in time, you're going to get that that's going to probably offset [00:12:00] that 36, 000 average pretty quickly. 

Jana Kay: And that's one thing I know on our website, when students are looking at our academic degree programs, we have salary information of our alumni of estimated salaries that our students are getting within 10 years.

Okay. Um, so fairly early after getting their degrees. Yeah. And I think that's something to research when families are looking at the not just the cost of attendance. How much is it going to cost me to go to this school? How much is that going to be offset by federal, state funding or scholarships? 

Scott: And then what am I going to be able to earn with that earn?

Yeah. If you're going to go spend, you know, 60, 000 on an education to go get a job that pays you minimum wage, that's probably a bad financial decision. Right, 

Jana Kay: but especially in the Tri Cities. Um, we have really good paying jobs here with all of the, with PNNL and the contractors. And there are so many businesses here and it's a growing economy.

And so, [00:13:00] 

Scott: yeah, those, the, the department of energy, uh, the national laboratories, uh, a lot of science based jobs, a lot of STEM jobs out in these areas that are 

Jana Kay: fantastic paying jobs. And not just. STEM jobs because they're hiring business majors. They need HR people. They need accountants. They need project 

Scott: managers.

They need people who can write 

Ricky: well. Oh 

Jana Kay: yeah. So, um, There are plenty of places to work in the Tri Cities where students are making a good 

Scott: wage. Oh, and I will say, because we're talking about WSU Tri Cities here, uh, more also interesting and fun jobs like the wine and viticulture program. Right, it's only three 

Ricky: in 

Scott: the world?

I believe so. Yeah. And we're, 

Jana Kay: uh, the newest. Yeah. So yeah, viticulture and analogy or wine science program is pretty cool, but I will admit I 

Ricky: still haven't been into that building yet. No, because I don't want to try the wine, but 

Jana Kay: you can get the wine. We actually have our own label that our students make.

It's called blended learning. Okay. And I have seen [00:14:00] that. Yeah. And it's They do a really nice job. 

Scott: And if I'm not mistaken, they also have an opportunity to work with a lot of the local, uh, wineries. Oh, an internship is required. Yeah, Washington State has, I think the last time I looked, it was five or six hundred wineries across the state of Washington.

Within 

Jana Kay: two hours of the Tri 

Scott: Cities. Yeah, and I'm probably undershooting that. That's probably old data. More than likely, but 

Ricky: I did have a student go out for Napa Valley for his internship. Yeah, I 

Jana Kay: was like, that's awesome. And that's one of the areas where we're seeing students from out of state. Yeah for our wine coming up from 

Scott: the California 

Jana Kay: Yeah, and Willamette Valley in Oregon Yeah, it's well known 

Scott: for their Pinot Noir, 

Jana Kay: yeah, it's a it's a really good program and the wine is good and Again, it's affordable and this we have such a great partnership with the Washington Wine Commission.

They help build our building They're providing all kinds of scholarships for our wines Science students and they're all getting 

Scott: internships and again thinking [00:15:00] outside the box find the people who are Contributing to these things one of the things now that I'm thinking outside the box a little bit myself that we haven't talked about Which is probably more of a much more minor subset athletic scholarships Uh, if you are an athlete and you are capable of performing, especially in maybe not some of the, uh, better known sports, like say football or basketball, uh, you may still be able to qualify for an athletic scholarship to a university.

Oh, absolutely. I have 

Jana Kay: a friend who, um, she started Western. Her daughter started at Western this year and just got a scholarship for crew. Oh, excellent. And you don't. I don't necessarily think of that being an athletic scholarship. 

Scott: Yeah, we know that crew teams exist, uh, the rowing out there, but again, like Depending on where you went to, to, to high school or whatnot, those, those type of sports might not have been an option for you.

But if it's something that you find an interest [00:16:00] in, even trying to walk onto a team and earning a scholarship after the fact might, might be an option for some people. And 

Jana Kay: not just athletics. There are fine arts programs and, you know, music programs that are funding and like marching band. Um, so it's not just athletics where you can get those departmental awards.

And every 

Ricky: school you go to might not have the same athletics or actual musical program. So again, you have to look at what you're interested in. Archery, start looking at the schools that might have that kind of archery classes. It might not be in the state in which you're in. So if, if that still is an option and you get a full ride scholarship, start thinking about that as an opportunity and thinking about leaving the nest because if it's a full ride scholarship, it's still something that it's available to you for school, your education, but it might not be at home.

Scott: Yeah. Again, thinking outside the box, looking all over the nation because these, these financing opportunities aren't just in your hometown. Uh, they're, they're all over the place. Uh, and. [00:17:00] Again, kind of like my coworker, your, your financing opportunity might be in Utah and, and you're living in, in Washington state and your kid might end up going to college in Oregon, uh, like.

None of this has to be purely local to where you are, right? 

Jana Kay: And I will admit, we don't have athletic scholarships at WSU Tri Cities. 

Scott: I was actually going to be another question that I had was, how do the, uh, the branch campuses like Vancouver, Tri Cities, Spokane, uh, compare with the, the home campus in, in Pullman as far as scholarships, as far as financial aid, is it all on the same playing field for those?

I don't think so. 

Jana Kay: So tuition at each of the WSU campuses is the same. Our global campus, there's a little bit of difference there, um, where they're just solely online and they don't have nonresident tuition, for example. Um, but when a student graduates from any WSU campus, they're earning a Washington state university degree.

So it doesn't say they're [00:18:00] graduating from WSU Tri Cities, they're graduating from Washington State University, and the tuition is the same on all the campuses. And the fees are the same, and course fees are the same. Um, there are some differences in some of our mandatory fees. Like our student union building and our safety fees.

So those could vary. Um, and Pullman, because it's a residential campus, does have the housing and dining requirement for first year students. Okay. So their cost of attendance is a little different. Or there's, um, Maybe less flexibility and how students can manage those indirect costs because they're living on campus.

Scott: So once again, this is kind of when we start talking about choosing your university, this isn't one of those decisions where you need to be like, well, if I got it. WSU Tri Cities degree. Is that the same? It is the same. The value of that degree is the same. And if I remember correctly, Washington State University actually has kind of sent [00:19:00] some of their majors off to different branch campuses for finishing.

If I remember correctly, uh, the pharmacy school finishes up in Spokane. They're also 

Jana Kay: now in Yakima. Are they? Yeah. And um, wine science. The students, once they're a junior in that program, they come to Tri Cities. So, we have students who are doing a change of campus. Um, they might be in Pullman studying civil engineering and decide to come to Tri Cities because of the internship opportunities.

Scott: Out on site, out at the NNL, the National Laboratories. And 

Jana Kay: we have students who will start on our campus, because they're going to save money for housing and dining by living at home, that we don't have the major they want. So they come here, they get their prerequisites, they take their general education, and then they do a change of campus to Pullman and get the major that they want.

But they're not transferring because it's the 

Scott: same class. Exactly. And if you don't have to worry about transfer credits going from, say, one university to another, because you're talking about, again, the same degree, the same 

Jana Kay: institution, we share a catalog and it's the same [00:20:00] curriculum. So, yeah, that's one of the things I really like about WSU, 

Ricky: but it's all the same funding, the same application from one school to another throughout the state is the same process as far as getting aid.

Only other difference besides getting aid will be those that actually want to do a little bit more after to go from high school. And not going to college per se, well, those would be the military. Those that want to serve and put that time in, those that do serve can get the education benefit from the VA paid for by 

Scott: them.

I was going to say that's the GI Bill, correct? 

Jana Kay: Yeah, there's GI Bill, there's um, we have tuition waivers from military affiliated students. So we have parents who've served to sponsor their students and transfer their benefits to them. Yeah. So we give. WSU is a military friendly institution and we have a lot of funding for our student veterans.

Scott: I was going to say, we have talked about so many more options than I expected us to discuss today when we came in here and sat [00:21:00] down, which is impressive because I felt like I knew a lot about some of these things to begin with, but again, talking to the experts brings so much more to the surface, questions and answers, different options that 

Jana Kay: are out there.

Yeah. And you know, we're talking about the state and federal aid and the WSU specific scholarships, but we're not even touching on the resources that WSU has to support students once they're enrolled, where we, we talked about the food bank, we have, um, emergency hardship funding. So if something does go wrong during the semester, there might be other funds available.

We have a Cougar completion grant. So if students are running out of financial aid in their last semester, we've got funds to help them finish their degree. So there's, um, there's all the upfront research and applications, but once a student is enrolled at a university, you know, we want to retain these students and make sure they graduate.

So we have resources in place that includes funding and sometimes it's not, maybe it's helping them [00:22:00] get an internship, um, which we have a lot of, but, um, Yeah, I think like Ricky said, thinking outside the box, there's a lot for students they don't even know about and they're, um, and it's a possibility to go to college and we just want to help them.

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. 

Scott: Yeah. So, uh, things that we've talked about today already, uh, Number one, I believe, uh, turn in your applications and do it on time. Correct. Yes. Yes. Absolutely. 

Jana Kay: Admissions application and your financial aid application. 

Scott: Get those done whether you think you need it or not. Because just submitting the FAFSA can give you a bunch of information about what you could apply for.

Correct. And if you're not sure 

Ricky: Give us a 

Scott: call. Absolutely. Talk to the experts. Exactly. Get in touch with people either a here at WSU Tri Cities or at whatever universities you're looking for. Uh, probably leverage your high school, uh, counselors, your guidance counselors, [00:23:00] uh, there. probably pretty well versed in getting kids off to 

Jana Kay: college.

Oh, Jim, we haven't even talked about our dual credit programs, like running start at college in the high school, where students are earning college credit while they're in high school. And that's a huge cost savings. We could, um, we could spend a whole nother And we do 

Ricky: outreach as well. Yeah, we do outreach with other high schools to kind of explain to them how Fast4Works or Fast4Knights as well to help them fill it out.

So, we do connect with the high school students and try to help them out. Also, kind of, uh, touch on those other Parents that don't speak English, so Spanish, which I do speak Spanish and I can't help them out. So that also opens the door and the connections to let students know. Okay. We have someone in financial aid that can help my parents and I don't have to translate for them for once.

Yeah, there you go. That 

Scott: happens a lot. There you go. 

Jana Kay: And when we're going out to high schools, we're helping students, whether they're interested in WSU or not. Our goal is to get them 

Scott: to complete the FAFSA. Yeah, here's the information that you guys [00:24:00] need to try and find a way to fund this dream of higher education.

Uh, and again, like we talked about, uh, the 529 savings plans for those people that are, planning well ahead and in advance, like by the time your kids in third grade, they are halfway to college and apparently they're shifting to reading to learn. Um, we talked about Washington state funding, different state funding, looking all around for it.

I have a sheet of paper here in front of me that has, uh, no less than a dozen links, uh, on it. to different resources, and we're planning on creating a blog post to go along with this as a companion where people can get access to to these resources that we've got here that will redirect them to some of these sites like 529.

wa. gov to the WSU financial aid office to a bunch of different tools so that they can Do some additional research, research and [00:25:00] learning and to be able to get in touch with you guys, uh, so that they can, uh, take full advantage of the information that's here because it's not, I'm going to college this year.

I guess I should start planning. It, it's a big thing. You want to be looking at it right then at that time. You also want to be looking at it well in advance. Um, so anytime seems like it is a good time to start looking into these things. If 

Ricky: you, if you think about going to college, even at middle school, it never hurts to start asking those questions.

Those questions actually that you learn and all knowledge is actually power because you can actually use that for your friends as well. If you know that you're going to need to be things filled out, help your friends as well. If you fill out a scholarship that is eligible for your friends, let them know.

Everybody can benefit from this, but everybody can help each other as well. But primarily, I always tell students. Let me help you. Yeah. 

Scott: Absolutely. Let me help you. And it's, it's again, [00:26:00] that, that kind of stigma situation asking for help is not a problem. Asking for help is what, how you go and find information and things that you probably didn't know that were out there that like you qualify for, go get free money.

Yeah. Pell Grant. Oh my goodness. Go get free money. Absolutely. Help pay for your, your education and make that that much easier. If you're 

Jana Kay: a college student, you'll probably get a discount on your cell phone. Yeah. Um, you're going to get a discount on your insurance. Like, there's all kinds of discounts for college students outside of aid.

One thing that we did list on the resources is a list of private scholarship sites that are vetted. So, Washington Student Achievement Council has washboard. org, and that's a great site that we probably refer students to the most where they can set up a profile, and it'll let them know what private scholarships they're eligible to apply for.

And the state has vetted them, so we know they're real, they're not going to have to pay to apply, their information's not going to be sold. So, um. So, 

Scott: the ones that we have listed here are College Board, FastWeb. [00:27:00] FinAid, F-I-N-A-I-D, un Nigo, uh, U-N-I-G-O and washboard. Mm-Hmm, , uh, again, we'll put those up on the blog, uh, as well, uh, so that people can, can find these, these vetted, uh, scholarship programs.

Um, before we sign off today, do you guys have any final thoughts that you wanna 

Ricky: leave people with? Yes, I do want to give people tips on the scholarships. Okay. Money always goes your way, never their way. There are actual scams out there just like anything else. Scholarships are no different. I do recommend that you open up a separate email address for scholarships because you're not going to be able to stop the spam.

Apply to as many as you want. They're all free. There's no limit to how much you could actually be winning. So I always tell students apply as much as you can. Uh, don't give out your personal information, more than likely there's going to be first name, last name, maybe date of birth and your email address for the most part.

Uh, if they do want to pay out to you, make sure it's either going to be paid to you. They'll tell you how, but if it's paid to you, [00:28:00] that's fine. You can always use that to cash it yourself. Go pay to the school or they might send it to the school. There's no wrong answer, right? Just 

Jana Kay: apply. Yeah. Yeah. My last thoughts are apply, fill out the FAFSA, um, fill out the WASPA if that's what you qualify for.

And if you have any questions and don't know what you should apply for, ask and we will hand you applications. Actually, we'll probably hand, uh, email you links to applications. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, but 

Scott: apply. And then deadlines for certain, get 

Ricky: them done. Correct. FAFSA, no deadline as of yet. Keep an eye out.

They should be coming out hopefully soon with a deadline of when it's going to be opened at least. So get that going. 

Scott: Perfect. Thank you guys so much for sitting in with me today and talking about this is a fantastic topic for everybody out there. Uh, once again, everybody, this has been an episode of dollars and cents.

Happo community credit unions, financial literacy podcast until next time.

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