FAFSA: Before – During – After


What is the FAFSA?


The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Anyone who wants financial aid for college will need to fill out the FAFSA. The application is used to determine the dollar amount you or your family will be expected to contribute towards college.

A FREE National Webinar powered by Student Choice

Completing the FAFSA can be a daunting task for families, but it doesn’t have to be. Student Choice’s College Access Counselor, Patricia Poplicean, will be leading a FREE national webinar on January 20th, 2016 at 1pm ET and 6pm ET, in an effort to help educate families about the financial aid process. This informational webinar will take college-bound students and parents through each step of completing the FAFSA – their gateway to FREE financial aid.

For additional assistance or to speak with our College Access Counselor, click here and submit your question or schedule an appointment.

DIY Gifts for the Thrifty

If you’re on a budget this holiday season, consider making gifts for your friends or family. Homemade presents often mean so much more because you’ve taken the time to think about what your loved ones like most.

DIY Level: Easy

A custom-made gift basket, or jar – like the ones featured by One Good Thing by Jillee – are a thoughtful, easy to make and generally wallet-friendly.Simply determine a theme and start buying goods to fill basket/jar/container. Let the person and their interest dictate what you use to fill in the jars or baskets.

Easy-to-make ideas, include:
• Breakfast Lovers
• Grill Master
• Coffee Time
• Snack Attack








DIY Level: Medium

If you prefer to be a bit more hands-on, consider crafting something for your loved one. There are tons of ideas out there and you can gauge money and time spent depending on the craft.

• If you know someone who loves tea, make a decorative tea wreath.











• Improve someone’s desk space by creating a knock-off gold desk organizer.












There are endless options and ideas available all over the web; however, it’s up to you to figure out the perfect homemade gift. Be creative. After all, the best gifts really do come from the heart.

What are some of your ideas? Share the word to help others be thrifty gift-givers!







Your Money at Your Fingertips

Online account management tools have modernized banking by making it greener, quicker and more convenient. Through a secure connection you can pay your bills, transfer funds, review your account balance and much more. Here are a few ways we can help you keep tabs on your account anywhere and anytime you like.

FREE Mobile Apps*

With our FREE App for your iPad®, iPhone®, Kindle® or Android™ devices, you have secure account access when you’re on the move. Not only can you check your balances, transfer funds and search for an ATM or Branch, you can deposit checks with FREE Mobile Deposit and pay your bills with FREE eBill Payer! See if an App is right for you; check out our Mobile Apps Demo.

FREE Online Banking

Save yourself a trip to the branch and take control of your finances. Simply login to Online Banking to review your account, apply for a Loan, transfer money, pay your bills, access eStatements and much more.

FREE eBill Payer

Did you know you can pay all of you bills, friends and family, using FREE eBill Payer within Online Banking? Setting it up is as easy! Simply enter the business or person you want to pay, set the amount and add the payment date. That’s it, you’re done. Plus, you can create a recurring payment to avoid late or missed payments.

FREE Text Banking¹

Access your account via text messaging. It’s a fast, easy way to get your balances and transfer funds. Enroll in Online Banking today!


*Requires mobile Internet access from your device. The trademarks, logos and names of other companies, products and services are the property of their respective owners. ¹Your mobile carrier’s text messaging charges may apply.

The Importance of Credit

You may not think about it now, but good credit is super important. Building good credit now (while you’re just starting out) can help you get a great deal on a loan when you’re shopping for a new or used car, or buying your first place.

The better your credit score, the more likely it will be for your banking institution to give you a low rate on a loan, (it’s called risk-based lending). They will feel more comfortable giving you a large loan (like $350,000 for a condo) if you have showed a good history of paying back smaller loans, like monthly credit card bills.

Good credit says to your bank “I am responsible with money.” Good credit says “I can purchase something more expensive since I am saving money by paying LOW interest.”

What this means is, you want good credit!

What you need to know for building good credit:

  • PAY ON TIME- payment history is 35% of your score.
  • Never use more than 50% of your available credit
  • Keep your old accounts- Accounts older than 2 year look GREAT on your report!
  • Limit opening new credit accounts frequently -Too many accounts opened for a short period of time look bad.
  • Have different types of credit- credit cards, a car loan, and a mortgage.

Learn about how credit scores are created in less than two minutes (video): Understanding Your Credit Report