RCTC Student Beehive – February 24, 2021

Check out the following links for important RCTC information:

Student Survey – Library Services
Graduation Application Deadlines
Declared Major Change
Recently Moved?
Financial Aid SAP
Return to Title IV
Money Management
UPCOMING EVENTS



STUDENT SURVEY – LIBRARY SERVICES
Students: Please take part in this study to determine what impact the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing regulations had on library services. Your participation is greatly appreciated and will involve completing this brief survey that should take less than 5 minutes to complete. Your input is so valuable to us. Please complete the survey today!

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SPRING AND SUMMER GRADUATES
Graduation applications are due within the first 30 days of the semester you intend on completing program requirements.  The Spring 2021 Graduation Application Deadline is TODAY, February 24, 2021 and Summer 2021 Graduation Application Deadline is March 22, 2021.  You can find the Graduation application online. Accurate and complete DARS Audits must be attached to the application.  You can access your DARS Audit through the eServices site.

RCTC will have a virtual Commencement ceremony this year and we hope all of our graduates will participate. We will be creating a graduate program listing all graduates.  In order to have your name included in this program, you need to apply for spring OR summer graduation by March 8. Stay tuned for information on how you can join us virtually to celebrate your success!

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DECLARED MAJOR CHANGE
To ensure you’re planning to take the right courses, check your academic major shown on your degree audit report (DARS) in the eServices site. If you need to declare a major change, you should first consult with your advisor/counselor. Once you have determined that you are ready to change your major, update your major online through the student e-forms, select major change. A major change takes about 2-3 business days to update.

Admission to some majors requires meeting certain criteria. If the college does not have your current major on file, you will experience problems when using DARS , and serious complications can arise with financial aid.

Updates to your DARS audit are automatic when you change or add a major or submit updated transcripts from another institution. Updated transfer evaluations may take 2-3 weeks and an email will be sent to your school account once the evaluation is complete.

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RECENTLY MOVED?
It’s important to keep your mailing address current, so that you receive essential college communications. Keeping your address current also helps us all by lowering costs of returned and re-sent mail.

If you have moved from your initial application to RCTC, you can update your address in person at the Records and Registration Office or in the eServices site section of demographic information.

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FINANCIAL AID SAP
Students receiving Financial Aid at RCTC must be making academic progress toward their degree.  Following each term, students are evaluated to determine if they are maintaining a cumulative (overall) GPA of 2.0 and completing at least 67% of all attempted credits.  Students not meeting these standards are placed on Warning and may be allowed to continue receiving financial aid for one semester.  Students who fail to meet the standards for two consecutive semesters will be placed on Financial Aid Suspension and become ineligible for all types of financial aid.

Financial Aid students are also evaluated to ensure they have attempted no more than 150% of the credits required for their program (including transfer credits).  If the student fails to meet this criteria, also known as “Maximum Timeframe,” the student is immediately placed on Financial Aid Suspension, without warning.

For more details about these requirements and a description of how the policy is applied, please review the RCTC Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. 

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RETURN TO TITLE IV
Students who do not complete all registered courses in a semester may be required to repay a portion of the Financial Aid funding which was disbursed.  The amount of repayment is based on the number of days the student attended and/or participated in classes.  The RCTC Return to Title IV Refund policy describes the process used to calculate any amounts that must be returned.  Students who totally withdraw from courses as well as those who simply stop attending are affected by this policy.  Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information if you are considering a total withdrawal or if you have stopped attending your courses.  We can help you understand your responsibilities.

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MONEY MANAGEMENT
As you begin college, this is the perfect time to learn important skills that will help you manage your money now and in the future. Money management skills and good practices are needed no matter how much or how little you have. It is never too early to start learning about money and budgets.  The following information will cover a variety of money management topics, including budgeting, credit cards and credit rating, debt management, how to identify financial troubles and finding resources to help.

Monthly Budgeting in College

  • Keep track of what you earn and what you spend.  Create a monthly budget and track to see if it is accurate.
  • Be aware of when you are buying to fulfill a need such as food, compared to a want such as your daily Starbucks run. Skip purchasing some wanted items to show you can do it.
  • Find ways to cut costs: Use a bicycle, get a roommate, learn to cook and buy used books.
  • Get organized: Establish a monthly bill-payment routine and set up a filing system.
  • Track your bank account. Be careful with your debit card – don’t go in the red.

Credit Card Tips

  • Keeping debt at bay is the #1 ingredient for financial success. Start now!
  • Realize that the spending patterns you set today will have an impact on the rest of your life.
  • Don’t have more than one credit card.
  • Read all the fine print of a credit card offer, including interest rate information and when the rate can increase, amount of late fees, over-the-limit fees, balance transfer fees, etc.
  • Try to pay off the entire balance each month to avoid unnecessary interest.  Always pay more than the minimum due.
  • Calculate the annual amount of interest you are paying; multiply the interest rate by the total balance owed.
  • Avoid penalties and fees as they can add up quickly.
  • Always keep your balance at least one-third below your credit limit in case of emergency.

Types of Debt
How you repay debt determines your credit rating, so knowing about the types of debt is important.

Installment loans are for big-ticket items such as cars or homes. Installment loans are paid in monthly fixed amounts and are normally secured (i.e. backed by something of value, such as a car). Payments should be manageable in your budget. Make payments on time as this will help improve your credit rating.

Credit Cards and department store cards are revolving credit lines. Credit cards are heavily marketed and the terms often look better than they really are:  Proceed with caution! Credits cards have a monthly payment that varies based upon total amount owed. Poor handling of credit cards can quickly hurt your credit rating.

Student loans are unsecured installment loans. Explore all your financial aid options, focusing first on scholarships and grants that don’t have to be repaid. Borrow only the amount you need to get through college. You will be happy to have a lower student payment when you begin your career and want to buy a home and a car. Be realistic about what your salary will be after graduation and estimate the amount of debt you can afford. Ideally, student loan payments should be 10 percent or less of your net monthly income.  Total debt, including your mortgage payment, should not exceed 30 percent of your gross income.

Your Credit Rating
A credit score is based on many types of information in a credit file. Lenders use a credit score to help determine whether a person qualifies for a credit card, loan, or service. Generally, the higher the score, the less risk the person represents.

  • A good credit history can mean lower interest rates, a job offer or a decent apartment.
  • A bad credit history will stay on your record for years and will make obtaining a mortgage or car loan very difficult.
  • Be aware of what’s in your credit report. You can get your credit report free once a year from www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Making student loan payments on time is often the first step in establishing a good credit history and will likely help you when applying for a car loan or home mortgage down the road.
  • Paying your rent, utility bills and credit card bills on time is important as they are also considered part of your credit history.
  • Your credit report includes your name, current and past addresses and employment, and all credit (debt) you have, including the current outstanding balance and whether you’ve ever been late for a payment. The report also lists any companies that have made credit inquiries.
  • Review all of the information on your credit report and challenge any information that you believe is inaccurate.

In Financial Trouble?
Here are questions to determine if you have too much debt:

  1. Do you have trouble paying your bills on time?
  2. Do you only make the minimum payments on your credit card?
  3. Are you near the maximum on your credit card limit?
  4. Do you worry about money all the time?
  5. Have you ever needed to borrow money to pay your bills?
  6. Are creditors calling you?

Seek Help
If you answered yes to any of the preceding questions, it is important to seek help. Visit the web sites listed below. Before deciding if a financial planner is right for you, do your research. Talk with trusted family and friends to find a financial planner. Consider a non-profit financial counseling service such as www.lssmn.org/financialcounseling.

Tax Related Benefits

  1. File Your Taxes for Free:  You can file your taxes for free online through the IRS website if your income is less than $57,000 at https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free
  2. Earn a Tax Credit: Some college students also benefit from two federal tax credit programs, the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. These may apply to you or your family, depending on your financial circumstances. For more information visit the IRS website at:  irs.gov/faqs/.
  3. Tax Benefits for Higher Education: You may be able to claim a tuition deduction of up to $4,000 of qualified education expenses paid during the year for yourself, your spouse, or your dependent. You cannot claim this deduction if your filing status is married filing separately or if another person can claim an exemption for you as a dependent on his or her tax return. The qualified expenses must be for higher education. You may also be able to deduct interest you pay on a qualified student loan. And, if your student loan is canceled, you may not have to include any amount in income. For more information visit the IRS website at: irs.gov/publications/p970/index.html.

Further Information, Interactive Tools and More
For additional information, interactive tools, budget calculators, sample plans, and more, visit the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Finance Plan website at:  www.gpslifeplan.org/finance. The Finance Plan website will help you learn about general budgeting practices and help you assess your specific situation. The more you know about both, the better you can manage your money. No one will care about your financial situation more than you so it is important that you take control and take action.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Thursday, February 25

  • MSU Moorhead Transfer Open House, 2:00pm, Online
    Interested in a Bachelor’s degree? MSU Moorhead is excited to offer several opportunities to connect with MSU Moorhead faculty and transfer admissions representatives, and learn more about MSUM’s major programs during interactive and live streamed Transfer Open House. Each of the four colleges at MSU Moorhead will be featured on a different day from 2pm to 3pm. Please register for the event that fits your major interest at the link: https://www.mnstate.edu/admissions/visit/transfer-open-house/

Friday, February 26


Events Coming Spring Semester

March 8-12, 2021 Spring Break – NO CLASSES
March 16, 2021 Free Speech on Campus
March 30, 2021 Building Confidence
April 20, 2021 Employee Development Day – NO CLASSES
May 12, 2021 Spring Semester Ends
May 13, 2021 Virtual Commencement
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