Category Archives: Financial Literacy

File your taxes for free

Each campus is hosting tax workshops open to all NOVA students and their families!

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Click on the campus you would like to attend for the registration form. Space is limited! Reserve your seat!

ALEXANDRIA CAMPUS

ANNANDALE CAMPUS

LOUDOUN CAMPUS

MANASSAS CAMPUS

MEC/SPRINGFIELD CAMPUS

WOODBRIDGE CAMPUS

Financial Avenue Financial Literacy Contest

Financial Avenue Financial Literacy Contest

money jarTwenty $100 NOVA bookstore gift cards towards educational costs at NOVA will be given-away throughout the 2016‐2017 academic year to randomly selected students ELI who successfully complete Financial Avenue web‐based financial literacy modules!

For more information visit Financial Aid’s Financial Literacy Blog.

Official contest rules and registration to participate can be found here.

Be Alert for Phone Scams

Identity thieves will use telephone calls as one of the most common tactics to steal your personal information, your money, and your credit. College students are a popular target for identity thieves seeking your financial and personal information, particularly for thieves seeking your information to secure bogus student loans.

First, let’s get some background on the facts surrounding telephone scams. According to the Federal Trade Commission, telephone scams are responsible for thousands of cases of identity theft every year. These scams use a number of tactics to convince you of their credibility. In most cases, the scammers try to convince you that they are from your financial institution, such as a bank or credit card company. A common scam is to pose as a government official, such as the IRS. They might even say they are from your school. NOVA will never make an unsolicited call to you asking for your financial information, so never fall for this trick.

The scammers might even know your first name, which makes it seem like they are legit. The will seem very friendly and talk in a manner that seems to show they are trying to help you with some issue regarding your account. But these are only lies intended to build your trust.

Another tactic involves an unsolicited call to try to sell you something, which of course requires you providing them with an electronic check, a credit card, or a debit card number. One of the most sophisticated scams involves placing an advertisement in the classified section of a newspaper, or sending you a text or email message. They might even send you to a website that appears to represent a legitimate business, but it has been created only to fool you. Never purchase anything over the telephone unless you expected a legitimate business to call you regarding a purchase. Never purchase anything from someone who sent you a spam text or email, even if the message references an existing account or legitimate business. Make sure any online purchase is from a website that can easily be identified as a legitimate business.

Phone with email iconsHere are some common strategies used by telephone con artists:

  • You’ve been selected to receive a special offer
  • You’ve been selected for this bonus if you make a purchase
  • You’ve won a prize
  • You’ve won money in a lottery
  • Here’s a great investment opportunity
  • Here’s a great charitable cause
  • You only have to pay for shipping and handling
  • You need to decide now or you’ll lose this opportunity

The consequences of telephone scams are severe. Some people have lost their entire life savings to telephone scammers. The headlines from around the country provide evidence of trusting people providing information to telephone scammers who then proceeded to liquidate their bank accounts.

For more information about ways you can protect your identity, your information, and your money from telephone scammers, check out this site.

NOVA Works to protect your ID – You should too!

Colleges and universities across the United States work diligently to protect student information.  Unfortunately, criminal operators are also at work attempting to use stolen identities and personal information to inappropriately secure student loans and other financial aid. Just recently, this issue hit home at Northern Virginia Community College as our school was targeted by identity thieves who were able to use other people’s identities to obtain federal student loans in a scheme that targeted NVCC and other schools. This blog provides tips for students to protect their information from identity thieves and outlines how NVCC is committed to protecting student data.privacy - small

NVCC provides various security protocols and technologies to ensure that your student information is protected from identity thieves. In the recent targeting of NVCC in the student loan scheme, it should be recognized that no student information at NVCC was compromised. Rather, as Alexandra News reports, the thieves used the identities of non-students to pose as students at NVCC. These identities were used to obtain federal student loans as the thieves posed as students at NVCC and other colleges and universities around the United States.

Even though no NVCC student identities were appropriated by the thieves, this student loan scheme highlights the importance of protecting your identity and reporting potential theft to authorities and school officials. There are several key actions you can take to ensure that your identity remains protected:

  • Protect your social security number. Your social security number is the primary target of identity thieves as it is the foundation for establishing an appropriated identity to secure financial aid, including student loans. Never provide your social security number to any person or institution unless you are confident in their credibility. Know your number by memory and never keep your number or social security card in your wallet or purse. NEVER give your MyNOVA password, FSA ID or other passwords to anyone!  If you think a password has been compromised, change it immediately.  Be alert for any suspicious activity, and address it.
  • Never respond to unsolicited requests for your information. Identity thieves often pose as official representatives of banks, schools, or government agencies over the telephone. Never provide personal information to someone who has called you unless you are certain that person is calling from the organization he or she claims to represent.
  • Destroy your paperwork. Bank, credit card, and school paperwork can contain vital information that can be used by identity thieves. Use a shredder or other means to safely and wholly destroy your paperwork. Securing paperless billing and communications from your financial and other institutions is another great way to avoid appropriation of your documentation.
  • Install firewalls and virus detection software. Your mobile and computing devices offer another opportunity for identity thieves to steal your identity. Make sure that all your devices have appropriate security software installed to prevent intrusion. Such software is usually provided by the manufacturer of the device and the software provider.
  • Create complex passwords. Your password should contain numbers, characters, and a mix of lowercase and uppercase format.

Lastly, NVCC calls upon all students to REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY that might indicate identity theft. If you think someone might be involved in stealing your information or that of someone you know, contact NVCC Police or your local law enforcement agency ASAP. Such activity can include observing an individual who appears to be physically snooping over the shoulder of a student working on a computer. Or perhaps you have received an unsolicited telephone call from someone claiming to represent NVCC or your financial institution.

NVCC seeks to partner with students in fighting identity theft.   We are very careful in all processes and cautious in disbursing aid.  Financial aid provides necessary support for many students, and identity theft represents a serious threat to this vital source of student aid and academic accomplishment.  Please help us help you!

References:

“Identity Theft.” USA.gov. Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/identity-theft.

“Two Plead Guilty to Student Loan Fraud Scheme Targeting NVCC.” Alexandrianews.org. Retrieved from https://www.alexandrianews.org/2016/07/two-plead-guilty-to-student-loan-fraud-scheme-targeting-nvcc/.

Financial Aid – College Night

Save the Date to join Financial Aid for College Night at several NOVA campuses on November 6! $500 scholarships will be given away! Learn more about Financial Aid and talk to a Financial Aid Advisor.  College_Night_1

Scholarships for DREAMers

NOVA is in the process of partnering with The Dream.US, an organization that promotes access to higher education for Dreamers.  Dream ActThrough this partnership, ten NOVA Dream.US scholars will be selected by Scholarship America each year, and hosted at NOVA with substantial scholarships and cohort programming.  Pathway to the Baccalaureate’s Monica Gomez, who is an expert in supporting this population, will coordinate the campus and cohort activities and serve as academic advisor for these NOVA scholars.  The scholarship deadline is October 26, so we need to get the word out quickly.

Financial Aid Scholarship

The Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation and the College Financial Aid Office (CFAO) are launching a new online scholarship management process.185520715NOVA has partnered with Academic Works to present, manage and award scholarships. Students can now submit, track and accept scholarship offers online. Interested students can go to: https://nvcc.academicworks.com/and sign-up with their VCCS issued email, create a password, and then complete the general application.

The general application will then match the student for all scholarships they are qualified for and identify any additional scholarships that would require additional information. Overall, this is a much more streamlined application process for students to apply for scholarships.

Apply today!

Financial Literacy: Understanding Your Paycheck

Ever wonder how much you actually take home from your paycheck? April is National Financial Literacy month. Over the next three weeks, we will pick a few financial literacy topics to discuss on the ELIfe blog. Today’s topic is Understanding your Paycheck and we are sharing some ideas to help you understand your paycheck from Project Life.

Do you know how much you pay in Federal taxes? State Taxes? Do you know how much you actually take home from your paycheck?

This Independent Living Skills Module shows sample checks and breaks down the different deductions to help you understand your paycheck.