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SMMC News & Events Blog
This blog highlights news, events, and informative articles on personal finance from University of Illinois System's Student Money Management Center. Feel free to navigate to different categories with the list of topics on the right or search for a specific topic next to the view all link below.

blog posts

  • Funding a College Education

    Funding your education can be a daunting task, but there are many tools to help students and their families cover the cost of a college education.

  • Financial Aid Notifications: Cost of Attendance is Estimated

    Financial aid notifications, or award letters, contain valuable information that help you understand the costs of college. However, it's important to remember that Cost of Attendance is an estimate.

  • What's a Credit Report Anyway?

    Podcast: What's a Credit Report Anyway?

    In episode 67 of Making Cents of Money, What's a Credit Report Anyway?, Nikki and Andrea discuss what's in your credit reports and how to get them at AnnualCreditReport.com.

  • Identifying Expenses: Fixed, Flexible, or Occasional?

    If you're looking for a better understanding of how to categorize expenses in your budget or spending plan, explore the differences between fixed, flexible, and occassional costs.

  • Password Managers

    Podcast: Password Managers

    In episode 66 of Making Cents of Money, Password Managers, we explore what password managers are and how they can be leveraged to protect your important information.

  • How I Avoided a Phone Call Scam in My First Week in the United States

    This article is meant to put people, particularly first-time travellers in the United States (US), on alert on the activities of phone call scammers. 

  • Student Loan Update 1 - Log into FSA and Update Contact Info

    Student Loans Webinar #1 Recording: Logging into FSA to Update Contact Info

    We discussed many aspects of returning to repayment during this webinar, but the primary action item we focused on was updating your contact info in your FSA account.

  • Podcast: Financial Planner vs AI

    In episode 65 of Making Cents of Money, Financial Planner vs AI, we discuss the pros and cons of using Artificial Intelligence language model, ChatGPT, to answer financial planning questions with the help of Donovan Sanchez, CFP®.

  • Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff Webinar Series

    Get $avvy - Grow Your Green $tuff Webinars for 2023-2024

    The 2023-2024 Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff annual webinar series schedule is out. Register today and Get Savvy.

  • Calendar with date circled that says Pay Rent! next to a roll of money

    Podcast: Help for Renters

    In episode 64 of Making Cents of Money, Kari Byer, Director of the APLD & Investigations, joins us again to talk about programs designed to help find and afford renting a place to live.

  • Student Loan Updates Webinars for 2023/2024

    Our Student Loan Updates webinar series will run from July 2023 - March 2024 with 10-20 minute webinars on different topics each month.

  • Get Savvy: Grow Your Green Stuff Webinar Series

    Student Loan Updates - Mini Webinar Series for 2023-2024

    SMMC & IDFPR are co-hosting a monthly webinar series between July 2023 - March 2024. Each 15-20 minute webinar will focus on a different topic related to federal student loans as repayment begins again in October 2023.

  • Screenshot of google map for financial institutions created by SMMC with white text: Financial Institutions Map

    Banking Locations Near Each University

    Looking for a financial institution on campus? Explore our Google Map for locations on or close to each campus in the University of Illinois System.

  • Image of wooden family figurines and house with text "Help for Homeowners"

    Podcast: Help for Homeowners

    In episode 63 of Making Cents of Money, Kari Byer, Director of the APLD & Investigations, joins us to talk about programs designed to help those who may be struggling with initial and ongoing homeownership costs.

  • Image of capital building and stethascope with white text that says "Get Covered, Illinois"

    Podcast: Get Covered, Illinois

    In episode 62 of Making Cents of Money, Brian Gorman, Director of Outreach & Engagement for Get Covered Illinois, answers our questions about managing healthcare costs.

  • Saving Up for a Side Hustle

    To complement our Side Hustles & Small Businesses webinar from last fall, we wanted to share some tips on saving up for starting a small business.

  • image of cash and graduation cap with "Student Loan Management" text

    Student Loan Management - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Explore methods of student loan management by watching this webinar recording from May 3, 2023.

  • sunset with utilities lines and white text that reads "Help with Utilities Bills"

    Podcast: Help with Utility Bills

    In episode 61 of Making Cents of Money, we learn about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). If you're struggling to pay utilities, apply by May 31!

  • hand stacking blocks with icons representing healthcare and "Health Insurance Dissected" text

    Health Insurance Dissected - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Dissect the ins and outs of health insurance by watching this webinar recording from April 12, 2023.

  • Credit Cards and Travel

    Travel credit cards have become very popular, offering a wide range of benefits if you use them wisely. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of using credit cards during travel and strategies for responsible credit card use.

  • Top of graduation cap with money and words overlaid that say "Return to Repayment UPDATE"

    Podcast: Return to Repayment (Student Loans Update)

    In episode 60 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki talk about the current status of federal student loans and how to prepare for the return to repayment which is expected in the next few months.

  • Pointer finger with tiny graduation cap on it

    Know What You Owe Challenge - Spring 2023

    About half of students at the University of Illinois take out loans to fund their degrees. Make sure you're not surprised by the amount of student loans you have taken out when you graduate by taking the Know What You Owe Challenge which runs April 1 - May 1, 2023.

  • Image of earth from space with "How Your Spending Can Change the World" in white text

    How Your Spending Can Change the World - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Explore how your spending can change the world by watching this webinar recording from March 29, 2023.

  • 2 women in a shop looking at an item together with white text: "Conscious Consumerism"

    Podcast: Conscious Consumerism

    In episode 59 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki discuss the meaning of conscious consumerism and how aligning your spending with your values can make an impact.

  • Tax Filing 101: Forms & Facts You Need to Know

    As we get closer to the tax filing deadline for the United States, it is important to knwo the intricacies and important forms for filing taxes.

  • Sky with clouds above Illini Union roof at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with text: Job Opening for UIUC Grad Student

    SMMC Grad Hourly Job Openings at UIUC

    Are you looking for an opportunity to enhance your professional skills while in school as well as your knowledge of personal finance? University Bursar's Student Money Management Center has two job openings at Urbana!

    Apply to be an SMMC Support Specialist!

  • Image of women with colored powder on them for Diwali with text that reads "Happy International Women's Day"

    Podcast: Happy International Women's Day!

    In episode 58 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki interviewed SMMC's very own Ramya Vaidyanathan about her experience providing financial education to women in India.

  • White piggy bank with text: Investing to Reach Financial Goals

    Podcast: Investing to Reach Financial Goals

    In episode 57 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki interviewed Alan Sorcher and Anne McKinley from the US Securities and Exchange Commission on strategic ways to approach investing to build wealth.

  • Balance board with risks and rewards blocks on each end & "Investing Risks & Rewards" text overlaid

    Investing Risks & Rewards - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Discover investing risks & rewards by watching this webinar recording from February 8, 2023.

  • woman drinking coffee and smiling at a computer with her hand in the air

    Understand Your Refund - Spring 2023

    Hundreds of students end up unable to register every semester because they owe money back to the university, even after receiving a refund. Learn how to avoid being one of them.

  • Fintech and Digital Assets text on image of hands holding phone with money signs above it

    Podcast: Fintech and Digital Assets

    In episode 56 of Making Cents of Money, David DeCarlo, IDFPR's Regulatory Innovation Officer, discussed what consumers should know about digital assets and regulation in this new era of fintech.

  • Image of cat in background with "Memes & Money: What are the Facts?" text overlaid

    Memes & Money: What are the Facts? - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Learn about money memes, digital assets, and more by watching this webinar recording from January 25, 2023.

  • Wealth Building as a Balancing Act text over image of hand holding a balanced scale

    Podcast: Wealth Building as a Balancing Act

    In episode 55 of Making Cents of Money, Donovan Sanchez from University of Illinois' Financial Planning program talks about wealth building as a balancing act.

  • Financial Resolutions white text over image of a 2023 flatlay with notebook and coffee

    Podcast: Financial Resolutions!

    In episode 54 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki & Andrea talk about some recent changes in setting new years resolutions and how to make finances part of your goals for 2023.

  • Spend Less, Travel More - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Learn about how to spend less to travel more by watching this webinar recording from December 7, 2022.

  • airplane in sky over palm trees

    Podcast: Revisiting Travel

    In episode 53 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea & Nikki discuss a few updates to consider when traveling before re-airing the Time to Travel podcast from July 2021.

  • Quote from Oprah Winfrey: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

    Gratitude & Personal Finances

    There are so many things to be grateful for in this life. As we go into the holiday season, in this article we will discuss about how gratitude impacts our finances. 

  • piggy bank with grad cap on money

    Podcast: Paying for College with Scholarships

    In episode 52 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea talk to special guest, Kara Holloway, Director of Scholarships at UIC, about paying for college with scholarships.

  • Pointer finger with tiny graduation cap on it

    Know What You Owe Challenge - Fall 2022

    About half of students at the University of Illinois take out loans to fund their degrees. Make sure you're not surprised by the amount of student loans you have taken out when you graduate by taking the Know What You Owe Challenge which runs November 15 - December 15, 2022.

  • Build Credit to Your Advantage - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Learn about building credit to your advantage by watching this webinar recording from November 9, 2022.

  • phone with credit score on screen & "Credit Scores" text

    Podcast: Credit Scores

    In episode 51 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea discuss some of the ins and outs of credit scores, the credit ecosystem, and building credit to your advantage.

  • Side Hustles & Small Businesses - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Learn about side hustles & small businesses by watching this webinar recording from October 26, 2022.

  • Man in front of chalkboard with "start up" written on it & text: Becoming an Entrepreneur

    Podcast: Becoming an Entrepreneur!

    In episode 50 of Making Cents of Money, Steve Bob from UIC Entrepreneurial Support Program joins Andrea and Nikki to discuss what to think about when it comes to starting your own business.

  • Podcast: Dealing with Emergencies

    In episode 49 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea talk about dealing with a financial emergency, not just how to plan but how to recover once an emergency happens.

  • ESG: Investing in Values to Make the World a Better Place

    Investing has become more than just seeking financial returns. It can be a means to support organizations, projects, and companies that align with your values. Read on to learn more about ESG and what it means to consumer influence.

  • Inflation: When Prices Rise - Get Savvy Webinar Recording

    Learn about how inflation impacts individual consumers by watching this webinar recording from September 28 2022.

  • flatlay of stethescope, mobile phone, and clipboard with "Federal Student Loan Forgiveness" text

    Podcast: Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

    In episode 48 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki talk about the differences between the federal student loan cancellation in Biden-Harris Administration's Student Debt Relief Plan and the temporary Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver that has a quickly approaching deadline of October 31st.

  • Hand pulling tissue out of box

    Shrinkflation

    As we get ready for our first Get Savvy webinar of fall 2022, Inflation: When Prices Rise, we wanted to share a little bit about shrinkflation - what it is and how to cope with it as a consumer.

  • 2 stacks of coins with a graduation cap on one stack. Text reads Biden Student Loan Cancellation & PSLF Limited Waiver

    Biden Student Loan Cancellation & PSLF Limited Waiver

    Not all federal student loan forgiveness programs are the same. We want to draw your attention to an upcoming deadline to be aware of if you work in public service and will still have a balance after the Biden student loan cancellations are processed.

  • woman drinking coffee and smiling at a computer with her hand in the air

    Understand Your Refund - Fall 2022

    Hundreds of students end up unable to register every semester because they owe money back to the university, even after receiving a refund. Learn how to avoid being one of them.