Missouri State University
MSU Real L.I.F.E.
Literacy In Financing your Education

Calling All Graduating Seniors!

Finals are quickly approaching and the countdown to summer vacation is in full swing! For those of you who will be graduating in May, there are a few extra tasks that need to be completed before graduation day. If you have taken out federal loans, filling out an exit counseling form is one of those tasks that needs to be completed. It is important to fill out your exit counseling form because it tells your lender that you are finished with school. Even if you plan on going to graduate school, you still need to fill out your exit counseling forms.

The Real L.I.F.E. program is here to help! Senior Symposium is an event that Real L.I.F.E. is hosting to help you complete your exit counseling, look up any information you may need, and answer questions you might have about your federal loan.

What should you bring?

-FSA ID (username and password used to complete your FAFSA)
-Names, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers of two references
-Details on your post-graduation income and living expenses (if known)

We highly encourage you to attend one of these Senior Symposium event times! Subway will be provided!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
11:00 am-2:00 pm

PSU, room 313

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
11:00 am-2:00 pm

PSU, room 313

Just stop by between any of the times listed above. Most students can complete the process within 30 minutes. Make sure and take advantage of this great opportunity!
*Computer usage will be limited, so bring in your laptop if possible.

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Student Spotlight: Alexis Radden

To celebrate Financial Literacy Month, we want to feature Alexis Radden, a Missouri State student who is extra creative when it comes to saving money. Alexis is a freshman majoring in Speech Language Pathology and minoring in Art. Alexis keeps busy by involving herself within Cru, being a part of Xi Omicron Iota, and playing for Missouri State’s Handball Team.

Alexis enjoying her free Andy’s ice cream cone with her coupons that she collects.

To save money, Alexis started cutting out coupons for Andy’s Frozen Custard from The Standard after her friend told her about the deal for a free small cone of chocolate or vanilla custard that expires at the end of next year.

“I try to save money when I can, so using the coupons let’s me get something I love without having to spend money. Everyone loves getting things for free, and custard is definitely one of those things for me.”

Alexis has some wise words for anyone needing advice on how to save money while in college.

“My tip for saving money is to look for coupons when buying something. You would be surprised on the things there are coupons for. Restaurants, groceries, and hygiene products are just a few of the things that have coupons. Every extra dollar helps when saving money at school.” 
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Student Spotlight: Blake Shepheard

Our Real L.I.F.E. Student Spotlight for this week is Blake Shepheard! Blake is a senior studying public relations at Missouri State.

Throughout his time here, he has had the opportunity to serve as an Emerging Leaders Facilitator, and be a part of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. He also works on campus as a PSU Building Manager, and with LeaderShape as a Marketing and Community Engagement Intern.

With nearly four years of college experience under his belt, Blake has some wise words for those of you looking for budgeting advice.

“Budgeting can be tough in college because you can’t always anticipate your income or expenses. However, talking with your employer about a consistent schedule can help you anticipate how much money you will receive on pay day! Also, picking up shifts at your job can help boost your income and allow you to have money to set aside in a savings account. The good thing about budgets is that they can be flexible and adapted each month. Tracking your budget month after month will also help you to plan accordingly.”


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Everything You Need to Know About Filing Your Taxes

By: Sammie Brueggemann

Image result for tax season 2017

Tax season is officially underway! Filing your taxes can be very confusing especially since you may or may not be filing as a dependent any more. To help with confusion, Real L.I.F.E has provided some tips and tricks for any student(s) filing their taxes this year!

Do I Even Need to File My Taxes? You only you need to file your taxes if you hold a job and have made more than $1050 over the course of the year. If not, you shouldn’t need to file your taxes.

Where Can I Get a Form to Fill Out My Taxes? If you are eligible to file for your taxes, your place of employment should have given you a form or should have mailed it to where you live.

Is it Okay that My Parents are Still Claiming Me as a Dependent? Of course it is, as long as you’re a full-time student, under 24 years old, your parents are providing less than half your own support, and you’re filing single or married filing separately.

Can My College Tuition Count as an Exemption? Actually, YES! According to the Internal Revenue Services, if you’re a student, not filing under the status, “married filing separately”, your AGI (adjusted gross income) is less than $80,000 if you’re single, and $160,000 if you’re married, and you are not being claimed as a dependent on your parents’ tax returns then you can claim your college tuition or loans as an exemption. In this scenario, you will want to fill out an 8917 Form that can be found at irs.gov.

What Form Should I Use If I Want to Deduct My Student Loans? If you are interested in deducting your student loan interest you paid for, you should have received form 1098-E. If you have not received this form, then you should go to irs.gov and print it off. If you’re not sure if you qualify for this, make sure you are not filing under the status, “married but filing separately”, your AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) is less than $80,000 if you’re single, and $160,000 if you’re married, and you can’t be claimed as a dependent on your parents’ tax returns.

I Need Help Filing My Taxes, What Should I Do? You’re in luck! Thanks to Missouri State University, now until April Accounting students are offering free tax preparation services at different locations throughout Springfield. If you would like to schedule an appointment or would like to know more information, you can call (417) 720-2000.

When are Taxes Due this Year? This year, taxes must be postmarked by Tuesday, April 18th, 2017.

Image result for tax season 2017

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Student Spotlight: Lydia Walters

Our Real L.I.F.E. Student Spotlight for this week is Lydia Walters! Lydia is a Junior at Missouri State studying theater and communications. She is involved in Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity on campus, where she serves as Vice President of Information Systems. Lydia is also the Scene Shop Assistant at Coger Theater, and a stagehand at Juanita K. Hammons Hall. As a college student on a budget, Lydia’s best financial tip is to “buy used.” 

“One major way I have saved money as a college student is by making sure I purchase used textbooks, in place of new ones. Whether I bought them from the campus bookstore, from a friend that had already taken the class, or from an online site, buying used books has saved me hundreds of dollars throughout the years. Buying used and exploring all options may take more time, but it is worth it to not pay full price for textbooks, and it saves me money every time!”

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Thrifting 101

I used to be skeptical of thrift shopping. I didn’t think that I would ever be able to find anything that I liked. I kept this negative preconception for years until my brother actually took me to a thrift store, and everything changed! Today, all of the clothes that I own are from thrift stores. They have developed into the style that I wear everyday, and I truly don’t think that I could ever go back to not thrifting! Here’s why:

  • Thrift stores are cheap, extremely cheap. You can save so much money! Look for sales too! And if you’re lucky…
  • You might find something valuable for almost no money at all
    • I once found a pair of Dr. Martens in great shape for $7.50. These shoes generally cost around $135
  • You can create a new style
  • They’re eco-friendly!
    • Think about it: second-hand stores keep unwanted clothes out of landfills. Help save the environment!
  • Shopping at thrift stores may help your community
    • Many thrift stores use their retail platform to provide much-needed services to the community
    • For example, the DAV gives profits to veterans

With these benefits in mind, thrift shopping sounds great, right? And it is! However, at times it may seem difficult to find items that you like. Here are some tips to help make your thrifting experience be the best it can be:

  • Always go in with an open mind; you never know what you could find!
  • Have an idea of what you need
    • Thrift stores can become crazy at times and are constantly being filled with lots of clothes, so it’s a good idea to have some thoughts on what you are looking for
  • Have good timing
    • Goodwill announces the color of the tag that will be on sale on Sunday’s
    • Red Racks has newsletters that you can sign up for, and they will send you notifications on sales
    • Super Thrift has their sales posted on their doors
      • Tip: Saturday’s = dollar day!
    • Thrift stores have lots of sales, so it’s definitely good to go during that time!
  • Explore beyond clothing
    • Along with clothes, many thrift stores have jewelry, furniture, home appliances, and records!

Thrift shopping is extremely beneficial not only to you but to your community and even the environment! Especially for college students on a tight budget, thrift shopping is the way to go. Over the past two years, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars and have completely redesigned my style; it’s a great feeling to have more money AND more clothes! Try out a thrift store today; you won’t regret it!

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Winter Break is Right Around the Corner



Winter break is right around the corner…which means the first semester of classes are coming to a close and the second semester will soon commence. Here’s some dates to be aware of as we wrap up this semester and get ready for the next one.


If you haven’t already, please complete your FAFSA application as soon as possible! The FAFSA application determines a student’s federal student loan eligibility, along with a student’s ability to receive Federal Pell Grant funds. Additionally, it is supremely important to submit the FAFSA before February 1st—the priority deadline—to become eligible for all state grants that are also available to students.

General and Departmental Scholarships of Missouri State:

The opening date for the General and Departmental Scholarship was November 1st, 2016 and the deadline is application submission is March 1st, 2017. These are privately funded scholarships, specifically for Missouri State students. This application can be found on a student’s MyMissouriState online portal.

Attention Graduating Seniors:

Exit counseling is required for seniors that are graduating and have borrowed from the FEDERAL DIRECT STUDENT LOAN program. Questions regarding repayment or exit counseling can be directed towards the Office of Student Financial Aid in Carrington 101, or an email can be sent to RealLIFE@MissouriState.edu.

2nd Semester Payment Dates:

The first payment date is January 25th, 2017.

The second payment date is February 25th, 2017.

The last payment date is March 25th, 2017.

NOTE: A paid-in-full payment must to made before January 25th to avoid any accrued finance charges on remaining student account balances.

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Today, September 22nd, is the first official day of fall and October is quickly approaching. Fall brings beautiful colored leaves, hoodies, and pumpkin spice everything…and this year fall also brings a new filing date for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)!

The opening date to begin filling out the FAFSA has changed this year to October 1st. The new priority deadline is February 1st. If you submit your FAFSA before the priority deadline you become eligible for not only federal aid, but state-based aid (grants) as well!

These changes are for your benefit:FAFSA Process

  1. You will use taxes that are already completed, so you won’t have to esti
    mate your tax information and then go back into FAFSA to update it later.
  2. If you’re selected for verification, there will be more time to get the necessary documentation in, so there will not be any delayed disbursement due to incomplete documentation.

Tips for filling out the FAFSA:

  1. Double check your information before submitting: Go back through your personal information entered to make sure you didn’t forget or add a number on accident.
  2. Have all the required documents with you before beginning the application: Look into what information and documentation is required to fill out the FAFSA, so you’re not scrambling to find it mid-application.
  3. Allow yourself ample time to do the FAFSA: Don’t wait until the last minute to fill it out, because it does take some time to complete. Also, if you apply by the priority deadline you are then eligible for state-based aid in addition to federal-based aid.

Visit www.studentaid.ed.gov for additional information.


Created by: Nicole Lehman

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Fall, Football, and Financial Aid

Fall is upon us which means…

Hoodies, bonfires, and football!


What you may not realize regarding the upcoming financial aid dates, deadlines, and opportunities that take place this fall.


Here’s what to watch for: fall msu pic

  1. Payments: September 25th and October 25th are all the dates for this semester’s payments.
  2. FAFSA: October brings Halloween masks, horror movies, and candy…but don’t forget about filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The 2017-18 application opens in October and closes March 31st.
  3. General & Department Scholarship Application for 2017-18: November brings midterms, turkey, and pumpkin pie, and the chance to receive free money for your education! Don’t miss the opportunity to apply. The deadline is March 1st, 2017.

You may be wondering how you will keep track of all these dates, deadlines, and opportunities and here are a few tips:

  1. Create a reminder in your cellphone.
  2. Purchase a planner from the bookstore that has these dates in it already OR buy your own planner and write down the dates inside.
  3. Write it down. If you’re not going to ever open your planner after purchasing one, because planners aren’t your thing, then write it down on a sticky note and put it somewhere where you’ll see it when it comes time to look at your financial aid status.


To learn more visit: http://www.missouristate.edu/financialaid/


Created by Nicole Lehman, Financial Literacy Ambassador, MoState Real LIFE.

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Financial Literacy Week Recap

Weren’t able to make it out to any events during Financial Literacy Week? You missed out on some great information, not to mention free food.


Here’s what you missed.


“What’s the Catch with Credit Cards?”

Amy Steele, Branch Manager at the Commerce Bank in the Plaster Student Union, gave a presentation on the pros and cons of having a credit card. She answered questions such as “Why is it important to build credit?” “What are some dangers of having a credit card?” and “What types of purchases should I use a credit card for?”



“Got Interest?”

Dr. James Philpot, Director of the Financial Planning Program at Missouri State, gave insight in how to utilize compounding interest in order to invest money wisely and build wealth.



“IDK: I Donut Know”

The Real L.I.F.E. staff set up shop in the Plaster Student Union to educate students on common financial aid questions and facts that many students may not know. Students were given a Krispy Kreme donut, as well as a sheet with many facts about financial aid.


Contact Us!

If you have questions or want to learn about any of the information you missed out on, stop by Carrington 419, email us at reallife.missouristate.edu, or give us a call at 417-836-3186.

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