Concepts to Consider Regarding your Financial Literacy
Syracuse Smart Money Program
Syracuse University College of Law students have access to the Syracuse Smart Money program, a program sponsored by Syracuse University's Office of Financial Literacy. Visit the website for helpful resources such as how to build a budget, learn financial basics, or to talk to a coach.
Manage Your Debt
The choices you make while in law school can have a long-lasting impact on your financial future. Personal expenses such as housing, food, and books are not billed directly to your student bursar account; these types of costs vary between students and may actually be less than what is estimated in our Cost of Attendance.
Our goal is to encourage students to utilize personal resources and reduce expenses whenever possible. Use the Budget Calculator to determine how much you think you need to borrow. Loan adjustments can be made throughout the semester for which the loan is borrowed; if your original estimate is too high (or too low,) schedule a meeting with the Financial Aid Office to discuss your preferences and goals.
Build & Maintain Good Credit
To qualify for credit-based educational loans, such as a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan, students (and in some cases, their co-signer) must be credit worthy and meet minimum credit requirements. If you think you may need to borrow from a credit-based loan program, we strongly encourage you to review the status of your credit history well before applying for loans.
You have a credit history if you have any of the following:
- At least one credit card, any consumer loan (such as an auto loan)
- student loans (federal or private)
- Any other form of personal credit (such as a cell phone contract).
Creditors use this information to determine whether they should extend credit to you based on your "willingness to repay the loan" as demonstrated by your past credit performance. Some factors used to calculate your credit score can include:
- Promptness in paying bills
- Number of credit cards
- Total credit limit
- Amount owed on accounts
How can you check your credit report?
You are entitled to three free credit reports every 12 months; one from each of the three major credit bureaus. To access your free credit report online, go to www.annualcreditreport.com. For federal student loan purposes, it is NOT necessary to purchase your credit score.
Your credit report will contain information such as: current balances, types of debt, payment performance, available credit, and a record of credit inquiries within the past two years.
Some negative credit information may remain on your credit report for up to 7 years; bankruptcy can remain for 10 years and student loan default remains on your report for 7 years. Review your credit report to ensure that accurate information has been reported. Errors can occur, or worse, you may find fraudulent activity on your credit report if you have been a victim of identity theft.
Students who have questions about educational tax benefits may go to the Tax Benefits for Education Information Center on the IRS website or go to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Tax Breaks for Higher Education website, which explains the various tax credits and tax deductions available to students and their parents.