Skip to content

Three Tips for Finding a Good Work-Life Balance

February 23, 2015

In our super-connected world, it can be hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Michelle K. of ResumeEdge recently shared three things you can do to help find that balance on En Route: A Career Blog.


 

Photo credit: Cheon Fong Llew, flickr

Photo credit: Cheon Fong Llew, flickr

Work-Life Balance

One of the great accolades that business technology receives is the increased flexibility it gives today’s workers. It is with near certainty that you or someone you know works from their mobile device or telecommutes. Technology has created a world where savvy businesses allow workers to effectively decide when and how they will complete their work.

The freedom of not being shackled to the 9-5 schedule sounds great, however if we’re not careful, this benefit can quickly become a burden. By blurring traditional ‘work’ and ‘life’ hours, we’ve set up the potential for a perfect storm in today’s competitive world. We see examples of this every day: in line at the store and the patron in front of you appears to be closing a multi-million dollar deal, oblivious to the cashier’s request for payment or their child begging for a pack of gum; the person who jumps up from their table to take an apparent business call in a quieter location; or even the manic driver wildly responding to email at every stoplight (or worse, going 80 down the freeway).

Sure, this may be the norm, however in order to maintain our sanity and lessen the likelihood of burnout, each of us must try to create some separation and create a healthily work-life balance. Whether you’re just discovering the freedom that technology in the workplace can bring, or you’re the spitting image of the above examples, there are things you can do to keep sane.

  • Email Vacation. When you’re on vacation, you should really be on vacation – put that email away. If it’s on your phone, disable service until you’re done. We all need times to unwind and disconnect from the stresses around us.
  • Set Boundaries. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule, however if you vow to stop checking your email after 7 p.m., you should rarely break that vow. This will look different for everyone, however no one should be ‘on-call’ 24/7 every day of the year.
  • Communicate Your Plan. Let your coworkers and clients know your schedule. All too often I’ve listened to people complain about late night calls or disrupted dinner, only to discover that while there was indeed a plan, nobody else knew of it. Again, every organization and position will have varied requirements and by no means should you shirk your understood responsibilities; however you should be able to create some ‘you’ time.So embrace the new age and all the benefits that technology has bestowed upon us…just remember that flexible schedules should not mean we are now chained or ‘wired’, if you will, to our virtual desks.

So embrace the new age and all the benefits that technology has bestowed upon us…just remember that flexible schedules should not mean we are now chained or ‘wired’, if you will, to our virtual desks.

Michelle K.

Recruitment, Editor, and Content Manager

ResumeEdge

How to Select a Default Prevention Servicer

February 23, 2015
Photo credit: Carsten Tolkmit, flickr

Photo credit: Carsten Tolkmit, flickr

Outsourcing delinquent borrower outreach to a default prevention servicer can have a real impact on your cohort default rates (CDRs). Third-party servicers do not actually collect money from student borrowers but work to get them into the right repayment plan, forbearance, or deferment with their current federal loan servicer. Since default prevention takes a tremendous amount of time and effort, you need to decide if outsourcing is the right decision for your school.

In order to make an informed decision on whether to perform default management in-house or to outsource you need to weigh competence, quality, and cost.

It comes down to the question of core competency.

Default prevention companies:

  • Call students on weekends and evenings using dedicated staff
  • Locate borrowers through skip tracing
  • Provide real-time reports of current trending CDR rates for a given fiscal year
  • Transfer borrowers to loan servicers and stay on the line to provide support
  • Perform data analysis to identify at-risk borrowers

If you do not have resources to dedicate the effort needed to effectively reduce and manage default for your borrower portfolio, outsourcing may be the answer for your school. You must also consider that if you support the effort in-house, you will need to continue to provide training and career opportunities for people who want to work in default management positions. In many organizations, there is a mix of outsourced and in-house staff. Ultimately, you must decide where the greater competency is achieved and select a third-party servicer that offers all necessary capabilities.

Take into account the quality and level of customer service your borrowers will receive.

Some schools believe that that in-house staff provides better service to their students at lower cost. You know your student population best and it may be that your default population is small enough that your office can effectively allocate the time and resources necessary to find and contact students. Whether you use internal staff or outsource, confirm that you have the ability to monitor and measure performance expectations. Work with a third-party servicer that clearly spells out the activities they will perform to secure borrowers into successful repayment and lower your CDR.

Cost – don’t just weigh the financial outlay, but also the financial risk your school should face if sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Education.

Often, default prevention companies are cheaper than hiring an in-house calling team. Spend some time analyzing the fee structure and your return on investment. If you are paying for activities with no incentive for performance (curing delinquent loans), you may be wasting your money.

Changes in the calculation of CDRs, along with other economic factors, are resulting in a greater challenge for schools in managing their default prevention activities. Schools must maintain CDRs below U.S. Department of Education-established thresholds or face serious sanctions, including loss of Title IV funding eligibility (student loans and Pell Grants).

Consider the following when you are selecting a default prevention servicer:

  • Years of experience in student loans and default prevention
  • Calling and collection strategy
  • Financial strength and stability
  • Past results
  • Cost and resolution pricing
  • Customer service and activity approach that aligns with your institution’s goals

 

Teena Cooper

Teena Cooper

 

Resources:

Driving college loan defaults down Published by University Business: 8/14/2014

FacilitiesNet

 

Upcoming SNAP! Trainings

February 23, 2015

4553_SNAP_Training_EM_Sig_v2_1117To help your school succeed, we offer a live SNAP! Training series for financial aid professionals on Wednesdays. Simple, New, Accessible, and Practical, these webinars will include tutorials, guides, worksheets, and of course, the latest financial aid updates from our expert trainers. Click here to download the full March and April training schedules.

Click on the links below to register for upcoming SNAP! Trainings.

Leading Change

In this session, leaders will learn proven techniques to successfully guide their team through change.

Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Borrower Intervention Points within the Life Cycle of the Loan

This session covers actions you can take at certain points in the life cycle of a loan to best prevent delinquency and default.

Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Managing the Moment: Conflict Resolution

This session will help you identify your own communication style in times of conflict and be better prepared to handle tough situations with skill and professionalism.

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Tap into Technology

Find out how college students use social media and how you can use it to connect with your students.

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Time: 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Upcoming Money Mondays

February 23, 2015

Nelnet is committed to providing the resources you need to help your students develop healthy financial habits during and after college. One resource is our Money Mondays webinar series for students, which covers basic financial literacy topics such as budgeting, credit, loans, and more. These occur on Mondays at 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. (ET). Click here to download the full March and April training schedules.

Invite your students to click on a link below and register; we will take it from there!

Personal Finance 101

This session will review the basic principles of personal finance and give students information to better manage their finances.

Date: Monday, March 2, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, March 2, 2015
Time: 4:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, March 9, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, March 9, 2015
Time: 4:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Budgeting 101

In this session, students will learn why it’s important to have a budget, how to create a budget, and how to stick to it.

Date: Monday, April 6, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, April 6, 2015
Time: 4:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Time: 4:30 pm, Eastern Standard Time (New York, GMT-05:00)
Register now

Leadership Learning Moments: Learning From Mistakes

February 23, 2015

Leadership Learning Moments is a three part blog series that walks leaders through the process of making mistakes (or as I like to call them, learning moments) with confidence.

As a leader, you will make mistakes – sometimes more often than you would like to admit. It’s part of being human and being a leader. Seldom when you are asked about a leadership characteristic or to define what leadership means to you does the word “mistake” come up. Why, as leaders, are we not being taught how to confront making mistakes and how to work through the process? So when you have made a mistake, what do you do next? This three-step technique will help you through the mistake-making process.

  1. Admit
  2. Learn
  3. Recover

Learn: the best thing you can do is grow from mistakes – all of them.

There is no easy way to learn from mistakes that will work every time. However, there are some strategies you can use to learn from your mistakes that will work in various situations most of the time.

  • Stop thinking of your mistake as a failure. Mistakes can shape us as people and leaders – either positively or negatively. The good news is that we get to decide which one. Of course, the intensity of need for this depends on the size of the mistake and the size of injury caused to the team or organization, but the principles still apply in context.
  • Be forgiving. Maintain perspective and don’t take the learning moment too seriously. Changing the outlook on a mistake can make it less threatening to recognize when you’re responsible or partially responsible. And that makes you more able to learn from your mistake.
  • See what you can change. Look at the situation as a whole in terms of what you can change. Viewing your responsibility through the lens of personal control—what can you change next time? what do you have control over?—makes learning from your mistake an empowering experience.

So the most important lesson in all of mistake-making is to trust that while mistakes are inevitable, if you can learn from the current one, you’ll also be able to learn from future ones. No matter what happens tomorrow, you’ll be able to get value from it, and apply it to the day after that.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

 

Nycci Jones, Learning and Development Consultant, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Nycci Jones, Learning and Development Consultant, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Guide to Interest Capitalization

February 22, 2015
Photo credit: Simon Cunningham, flickr

Photo credit: Simon Cunningham, flickr

We often receive questions from financial aid advisors about how interest is capitalized on federal student loans. Here is a look at some important details.

In general, loans are capitalized…

Either at the end of the grace period or at the end of deferment or forbearance. (Specifically, this covers the scenario when a borrower enters a period of back-to-back deferment or forbearance. The servicer applies capitalization only once – at the end of the final status change.)

For loans in an income-contingent repayment plan…

Capitalization occurs during periods of negative amortization annually. Negative amortization interest capitalizes only until the principal balance is ten percent greater than what the principal balance was when the borrower entered repayment. Otherwise, normal capitalization rules apply.

For loans in an income-based repayment plan…

Capitalization occurs if the borrower no longer qualifies for payments based on income (no longer has a partial financial hardship) or if they leave income-based repayment early.

For loans in Pay As You Earn…

Capitalization occurs when the borrower no longer qualifies for payments based on income (no longer has a partial financial hardship) or if they leave Pay As You Earn early. Interest capitalizes only until the principal balance is ten percent greater than what the principal balance was when the borrower entered the plan.

Special rule for periods of back-to-back deferment and/or forbearance:

If a borrower enters a series of status changes that would otherwise result in interest capitalization, the servicer will capitalize only once, at the end of the final status change, as illustrated by the following examples.

Example 1

If a borrower is placed on administrative forbearance, then has the forbearance extended as a regular forbearance, and finally is placed in an economic hardship deferment without any breaks between the periods of forbearance and deferment, the accrued interest is not capitalized until the end of the deferment period.

Example 2

If a borrower with a PLUS loan that was first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008 receives an in-school deferment covering the total period of at least half-time enrollment that is immediately followed by a six-month post-enrollment deferment, the interest that accrued from the period of first disbursement to entry into repayment, the in-school deferment, and the post-enrollment deferment is not capitalized until the end of the six-month post-enrollment deferment period because there is no break between the two deferment periods.

Have questions about a specific student’s scenario? Remember that the School Service Center (SSC) is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) Monday – Friday to assist you, and expedited assistance is provided to school representatives who call with a borrower on the line. You can reach the SSC at 866.463.5638 or SSC@Nelnet.net.

 

Lou Murray, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Lou Murray, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

 

 

Latest from FSA: New IRS Data Retrieval Tool Infographic

February 22, 2015

10353636_775424025872065_4262832744742597688_n

With the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, students can transfer their federal tax return information to their FAFSA. This new infographic from FSA breaks down the process into simple steps. Be sure to share it with students as they complete the FAFSA!

Click here to download the IRS Data Retrieval Tool infographic.

 

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet

Kristin Tobias, Communications Coordinator, Nelnet