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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

  • Executing a Power of Attorney in Illinois

    A power of attorney (POA) is a tool to enable someone else to make decisions on your behalf. There are several types of POAs and their functions differ. Read this article to find answers to many questions about POAs.

  • Lines of Injustice: What is Redlining?

    Podcast: Lines of Injustice: What is Redlining?

    In episode 83 of Making Cents of Money, Lines of Injustice: What is Redlining?, DFPR Secretary Mario Treto, Jr. discusses the topic of redlining and how it leads to disparities for generations. 

  • Money, Stress, and Bad Habits

    Webinar Recording: Money, Stress, & Bad Habits

    Understand the connection between money, stress, and bad habits. Learn strategies to manage stress, break free from detrimental financial behaviors, and cultivate a healthier relationship with money.

  • Variable Insurance: Protection Product or Security?

    Learn about how variable insurance differs from traditional whole and term life insurance policies and what to keep in mind if you are considering variable insurance.

  • Financial Education Resources for Illinois Residents

    Podcast: Free Financial Education Resources for Illinois Residents

    In episode 82 of Making Cents of Money, Free Financial Education Resources for Illinois Residents, Maggie Owen from the Illinois State Treasurer's Office joins us to discuss all the financial education programs Illinois has for residents. 

  • April 30th Student Loan Deadline

    Podcast: April 30th Student Loan Deadline

    In episode 81 of Making Cents of Money, April 30th Student Loan Deadline, we discuss a critical deadline for FFEL, Perkins, or Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL) borrowers on income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. 

  • Student Loan Management

    Webinar Recording: Student Loan Management

    Learn how to navigate your student loan journey. Understand crucial terms, tips, and tools for managing your education debt.

  • Know What You Owe Challenge - Spring 2024

    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, 2024.

  • Building Wealth After Graduation

    Podcast: Building Wealth After Graduation

    In episode 80 of Making Cents of Money, Building Wealth After Graduation, Donovan Sanchez returns to talk about how to navigate juggling multiple goals during the transition to life after college.

  • What happens when a bank fails? in white text over picture of piggy bank sinking in water

    Podcast: What Happens When a Bank Fails?

    In episode 79 of Making Cents of Money, What Happens When a Bank Fails?, Chicago City Comptroller and former Illinois Director of Banking, Chasse Rehwinkel joins us to discuss recent incidents of bank failure and how these differed from others in history.

  • Save Money on Food

    Webinar Recording: Save Money on Food

    Hungry for savings? Uncover tricks for affordable dining. Say goodbye to overspending and hello to tasty savings. 

  • Is Crypto the Wild West? with a sunset and silhouettes of saguaro cacti.

    Podcast: Is Crypto the Wild West?

    In episode 78 of Making Cents of Money, Is Crypto the Wild West?, David DeCarlo and Jake Hamilton join us to discuss what regulation does and does not exist for consumers regarding crypto.

  • 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!

  • Student Loan Update 8 - Different Types of Student Loans

    Student Loans Webinar #8 Recording: Different Types of Student Loans

    It's important to know the types of loans that you have in order to understand your repayment and other student loan management options.

  • Episode 77 - Tax Talk with two people speaking to each other over some paperwork.

    Podcast: Tax Talk

    In episode 77 of Making Cents of Money, Tax Talk, Andrea and Nikki talk tax... forms, terms, and more as the April 15 federal tax deadline approaches.

  • Steps to Investing: What to Know Now

    Webinar Recording: Steps to Investing - What to Know Now

    Ready to start investing? Learn investing basics and explore new trends in securities. 

  • Understand Your Refund - Spring 2024

    Many students end up unable to register every semester because they owe money back to the university, even after receiving a refund. Learn answers to frequently asked questions about refunds.

  • What is Crypto Anyway?

    Podcast: What is Crypto Anyway?

    In episode 76 of Making Cents of Money, What is Crypto Anyway?, Jake Hamilton, a previous podcast co-host, comes back to provide an overview of how crypto works and what the future looks like for this financial technology.

  • Money in Your Entrepreneurial Pursuit

    Webinar Recording: Money In Your Entrepreneurial Pursuit

    Master your finances as an entrepreneur. Learn best practices for money management while building your business.

  • Student Loan Update 7  - Public Service Loan Forgiveness

    Student Loans Webinar #7 Recording: Public Service Loan Forgiveness

    Learn if you can qualify for PSLF as a federal student loan borrower working in public service.

  • Podcast: Setting & Prioritizing Financial Goals

    In episode 75 of Making Cents of Money, Setting & Prioritizing Financial Goals, Nikki and Andrea discussed several strategies for setting, prioritizing, and re-prioritizing financial goals... just in time for the new year! 

  • Student Loan Update 6 - Managing PLUS Loans

    Student Loans Webinar #6 Recording: Managing PLUS Loans

    We explored the unique features of Direct Parent PLUS loans and Graduate PLUS loans. Direct Parent PLUS loans have more unique repayment considerations than all other types of Direct Loans.

  • Your Financial Tool Chest

    Webinar Recording: Your Financial Tool Chest

    Unlock the power of financial tools! Explore the best services for your goals, safety, and cost-efficiency.

  • Podcast: Credit Reports Update

    In episode 74 of Making Cents of Money, Credit Reports Update, we had a Consumer Alert! Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are allowing access to free, weekly credit reports indefinitely now. 

  • Student Loan Update 5 - Fresh Start & On-Ramp to Repayment

    Student Loans Webinar #5 Recording: Fresh Start & On-Ramp to Repayment

    We discussed both the On-Ramp to Repayment and the Fresh Start Program during this webinar. If you had loans previously in Default, the Fresh Start program may be a good program for you. 

  • Know What You Owe Challenge - Fall 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 November 14 - December 15, 2023.

  • Behavioral Economics: Five Ways to Shift Your Habits

    When considering decision-making in terms of your finances, it’s important to understand behavioral economics so we can develop healthier spending habits and save money along the way.

  • Don't Get Phished: Avoid Scams & Fraud

    Webinar Recording: Don't Get Phished

    Stay one step ahead of scams and fraud! Learn ways to protect yourself, recognize identity theft, and take action if affected.  

  • Talking to Family About Money During Holidays

    As the holidays are coming in, you are probably thinking of the trips, events, food, and gifts that come with it. However, this holiday, you may consider having a conversation with your family about how the pressures of this season can affect your resources (financial or otherwise).

  • Podcast: Loan Payments Resumed in October

    In episode 73 of Making Cents of Money, Loan Payments Resumed in October, we discussed the "on-ramp" to repayment being implemented by the U.S. Department of Education as millions of borrowers started making payments on their federal loans again in October.

  • Student Loan Update 4 - Know Options if You Can't Pay

    Student Loans Webinar #4 Recording: Know Options if You Can't Pay

    We focused on what your options are if you can't make a payment, including the differences between deferment and forbearance. 

  • Podcast: Understanding FAFSA

    In episode 72 of Making Cents of Money, Understanding FAFSA, Beth Groves, Professional Development Specialist from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) talks about major changes to the FAFSA, delays, and its importance for anyone considering post-secondary education.

  • Spooked by Spending Plans?

    Webinar Recording: Spooked by Spending Plans?

    Discover spending motivations and find money management tools that work for you to face your financial fears.

  • Image with line chart and graph behind white text that reads World Investor Week

    Podcast: World Investor Week

    In episode 71 of Making Cents of Money, World Investor Week, Andrea interviews Alan Sorcher and Anne McKinley from the US Securities & Exchange Commission in honor of World Investor Week on ways investors can learn about securities throughout the year.

  • Refinancing an International Education Loan in the United States

    Suhas Vetri Annamalai, SMMC Support Specialist and student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's College of Law, discusses multiple factors to consider when deciding if refinancing your international student loan in the U.S. is the right choice for you.

  • Magnifying glass over newspaper focusing on Interest Rates with white text that reads "The Impact of Compound Interest"

    Podcast: The Impact of Compound Interest

    In episode 70 of Making Cents of Money, The Impact of Compound Interest, Andrea and Nikki explore the complicated relationship we can have with compound interest when it comes to accomplishing financial goals.

  • Student Loan Update 3 - Consolidation or Refinancing

    Student Loans Webinar #3 Recording: Review Consolidation or Refinancing

    We discussed interest and the differences between consolidating and refinancing your student loans. Carefully consider the consequences of using a private refinance loan to pay off federal student loans.

  • Read Before You Sign: Renting & Leasing

    Webinar Recording: Read Before You Sign

    Get savvy about renting & leasing! Understand your rights & responsibilities when it comes to renting a place to live. 

  • Man smiling while holding paycheck. White text reads "Understanding Your Paycheck"

    Podcast: Understanding Your Paycheck

    In episode 69 of Making Cents of Money, Understanding Your Paycheck, Nikki and Andrea talk about something you're bound to love: your paycheck!

  • Breaking a Rental Lease in Illinois

    Kwabena Sarfo Adjei, SMMC Support Specialist and LLM student at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's College of Law, describes how he was able to get out of his rental lease after finding the rental property did not meet his expectations.

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

    Understand Your Refund - Fall 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.

  • The Financial Impact of Digital Illiteracy

    Podcast: The Financial Impact of Digital Illiteracy

    In episode 68 of Making Cents of Money, The Financial Impact of Digital Illiteracy, Andrea and Nikki explore the financial implications of digital Illiteracy in our digital age.

  • Student Loan Update 2 - Explore Repayment Plans

    Student Loans Webinar #2 Recording: Explore Repayment Plans with the Loan Simulator

    We explained the many repayment plan options available for federal loans, but the primary action item we wanted you to focus on was using the Loan Simulator to explore repayment plan eligibility.  

  • Cash at College

    Webinar Recording: Cash at College

    Discover how spending, saving, and student loans impact your college experience.

  • Decreasing Borrowing While in School

    Student loans can be a valuable tool for increasing access to higher education, but it does come with a cost. Learn how to limit those costs while in school so you decrease future costs of compounding interest.

  • 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.