University of Delaware Participating in Student Loan Counseling Pilot Program

Pilot Program For Student Loan Counseling Being Tested At University Of Delaware

The United States Department of Education has chosen fifty-one American universities and colleges to participate in a pilot program to test student loan counseling. The program has been developed as an experiment to help students learn more about how to navigate the confusing and costly student loan systems.

What The Program Entails

The program is intended to help inform students about the ins and outs of the student loan system in America. Certain students who are loan borrowers at some of the participating universities will also be required to take part in extra counseling sessions before they will be adding more debt to their total debt during their sophomore, junior and senior years of college or university education.

This program was specifically designed to test how much of an impact the counseling sessions will have on students with debt. Typically, the counselling sessions would have been reserved for the time before a freshman begins school or after they graduate. Now, the selected students to participate will have more sessions throughout their college and university educations for more help and to monitor how they are doing with regards to their student loan debts.

Where The Loans Come From

The students who are borrowing loans for educational purposes through the program ran by the Federal Direct Loan Program are going to be put into one of two types of groups. The first group will take on students that have to go through the mandatory loan counseling sessions. These sessions will be brief, online courses which the student must attend each time they are about to borrow more money for their schooling needs. The students which are going to be placed in the second group won’t be required to go through any extra counseling sessions for the student loans they take out.

Earlier, the counseling sessions for the students in the groups that took the tests during freshman year typically lasted no more than half an hour. These tests could be completed online. The exit sessions for counseling were also able to be completed online and took place once graduation was over. They took around half an hour to complete as well. The exit sessions which are completed after graduation were to inform the students about when their student loans were to be paid off and helped them to calculate what their monthly payments were going to be.

Statement From Director Of Student Financial Services

The Director of Student Financial Services made a statement to the News Journal. Her name is Melissa Stone and she works at the University of Delaware. She was stating that when a freshman starts school, there are so many changes that they are having to go through. She also feels that when the students go through the initial debt counseling sessions online, they may not fully understand what they mean. She also believes that after four years at school, a student will be fully reminded of where they are at with regards to the loans and how much it costs to get a good education.

Theses counseling sessions are used in hopes to bringing some knowledge to the students at the University of Delaware and other participating universities and colleges to be more informed about the importance of their student loan debts while they are going to school. The students are going to be receiving ongoing and proactive counseling to gain the knowledge and tools necessary to better manage and understand their personal finances and debts.

Future Of Debt Counseling Program

The future looks good for the student debt loan counseling program. It should be continued for the next few years at the very least, according to a statement from the Department of Education. These counseling sessions are a great addition to the other various initiatives and programs that have been enacted in the past decade to help improve the student loan debt crisis in America. It is offered in hopes of making college more affordable and worthwhile.

According to information from LendEDU, there are more than forty-three million student loan borrowers in the United States. All together, they collectively owe more than $1.41 trillion dollars to their student loan debts. Additionally, about sixty percent of college and university graduates left school with some amount of student loan debt. The average student loan borrower owes around twenty-eight thousand dollars towards their debts.

Small Business Natural Disaster Loans & Their Application Process

You have a thriving business, and it’s everything you’ve ever dreamed it would be. You get to be your own boss, choose what products you sell, and set your own hours. Your business is doing extremely well when disaster strikes. Your business becomes collateral damage to a natural disaster. You’re on the verge of losing everything you’ve worked so hard for, and you’re not sure where to turn next. This article will go over a few options for disaster loans tailored to small businesses, where to apply for them, and how to start the application process.

Business Physical Disaster Loans

You are eligible to apply for a Business Physical Disaster Loan if your business is located in an area that has officially been declared a disaster area. The Small Business Administration sets aside upwards of $2 million dollars for small businesses affected by a disaster. These loans are designed to replace:

  • Equipment
  • Fixtures
  • Inventory
  • Machinery
  • Real Property
  • Structural Damage

This loan is for small businesses who suffered damage that isn’t fully covered by their insurance. It doesn’t matter what size your business is, if it’s located in a declared disaster area you can apply for this loan to return your business to its pre-disaster state. You can apply online by clicking here and filling out an application. You can also apply at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center. Once your application is processed, the Small Business Administration will send out an inspector to assess the damage and make a report. You will get a letter in the mail specifying what the loan is to be used for, along with the check.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan

This loan is also provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA), and will only be granted if the Small Business Administration determines you are ineligible for other types of loans. This loan works by setting repayment terms based on what you can repay, but it can only go for a 30-year term. You will have to submit a loan application form along with an IRS form that grants the IRS permission to give your tax information to the Small Business Administration. A business may be able to qualify for both this loan and a physical disaster loan at the same time. You can apply by clicking here. This loan is designed to keep your business running until you can operate on your own without assistance. According to FindLaw, you will also need collateral to successfully get this loan, as it is designed to cover just what your business lost out on by the disaster, and nothing more.

Application Process

The first step is choosing which loan will be in your best interest. You pick one and fill out the application either online, over the phone, or in person. An inspector will come out and estimate the cost of the damages and draw up a report. They will submit this report back to the Small Business Administration to review. Next, you should call your local SBA District Office and see which banks they recommend, and which lenders offer SBA loans. Call and set up a meeting with the lender, and come prepared. The lender will look at these categories to either approve or decline your application:

  • Credit History
  • Payment History
  • Income Predictions
  • Debt-to-Worth Ratios
  • Collateral (most SBA loans won’t require collateral, but it’s a good idea to have an estimate on hand)

All of these factors will either help you or hurt you in a meeting with your lender. Before this meeting, you should make sure you are current on your taxes with the IRS. Also, bring a business plan that includes financial projections, and a list of what you plan to do with the loan. The Small Business Administration offers a free tool to help you make your business plan.

FEMA

Another agency that will provide referrals for disaster assistance is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If your business has been damaged and is located in a federally declared disaster zone, you can apply for assistance through FEMA’s website. They will look at all of your information and make referrals for you to get assistance for your business. You will have to have these documents on hand:

  • Annual Income
  • Business Address
  • Current Mailing Address
  • Current Telephone Number
  • Description of the Damage and Damaged Items
  • Insurance Information
  • Social Security Number
  • Profit to Loss Ratios
  • Business Certifications and Licenses
  • Lease

Again, FEMA will not provide you a loan directly, but they will put you in touch with organizations who will assist you. They will also help with the paperwork and legal aspect that comes along with having a business in a declared disaster zone.

Surviving a disaster is just the beginning. You will have to work hard and be resourceful to rebuild your business back to what it was before. These loans and resources will give you the help you need to recover your dreams and leave you with a business you can be proud of.

Senate to Approve Student Entrepreneur Fund That Could Turn Delaware into Tech Hub

Delaware legislators are considering passing a Student Entrepreneur Fund bill that might encourage young people to start technology-based companies in the state. Delaware Senate Bill 112 would call for the spending of $2 million per year over the next three year. Funds would come from the state’s $10 million Delaware Strategic Fund.

Why Senators Feel the Student Entrepreneur Fund Needs Passing

Bill sponsor Senator Harris B. McDowell of Dover, Delaware, hopes that more young people would be encouraged to stay in the state. Many people have left the state recently because of the closing of two auto plants and the drastic downsizing of Dupont after their merger with Dow.

Intentions of the Student Entrepreneur Fund

In order to qualify for a grant from the fund, participants must first graduate from a Delaware college. Immigrants attending college in Delaware would be eligible to receive funding. Secondly, funds could be allocated to create new innovative technology companies in the state attracting younger talent. McDowell and other supporters of the bill also hope it will attract global entrepreneurs to the state who would work with the colleges located there. Finally, it is the intent of the bill to support those starting new companies by crowdsourcing with the local colleges.

Hopeful Outcomes

Delaware’s population is getting much older after two decades of the population getting younger. It is hoped that this fund may encourage young people to come to the state, go to college, start businesses and raise their family there. That way, the state’s tax revenue would naturally rise to support the older population.

What Startups would Receive Student Entrepreneur Funding?

Any startup receiving funding must promise to stay in the state for 10 years if they are successful. Over 90 percent of new startups fail, so many fear that this fund may be a waste of precious tax dollars. Others wonder if the fund is large enough since New York and other neighboring states have created similar programs.

Grant Approval Process

All applications for the grants would have to be approved by a committee before the idea receives any money. Serving on the committee will be the Delaware Secretary of Education Doctor Susan Bunting or her designee, Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock, two representatives from the University of Delaware, a representative from Delaware State University and other interested parties. The university representatives would be appointed by their institution’s presidents for their expertise in technology and entrepreneurship. It would also be the job of this committee to develop the platform so that students and startups with potential to add commercialization, job creation and economic growth would naturally rise to the top.

Arguments Against the Student Entrepreneur Fund

Others argue that this bill does not go far enough to change Delaware’s economy. They argue that the first step is for the Delaware Economic Development Office to develop detailed plans that are more than five years long. They also stress that laws giving schools the flexibility and funding to prepare students at an early age must be passed. Furthermore, they suggest that the most advanced community policing programs must be put in place so that Delaware become a safer state. They also believe that the state’s infrastructure must be upgraded. Until these things happen, opponents feel that the governor should not sign this bill.

The Student Entrepreneur Fund also called Delaware Senate Bill 112 would provide funding to startups and young people wanting to start businesses in the state. The idea is being proposed because Delaware has seen a recent decline in young people choosing to stay in the state. A committee would be appointed to build a platform allowing the best ideas to rise to the top. Successful new startups receiving funding would have to promise to stay in the state for 10 years. Opponents argue that their are many better ways to spend taxpayer’s funds.

Here’s Why You Should Move Your Business to Delaware

Here is Why You Should Invest in Delaware

Are you interested in starting a new business or relocating to a better place? Delaware is the midpoint of the northeast corridor. At Delaware, you have access to the world’s biggest cities by air, interstate highways, and rail. Here is what makes Delaware an investment hub.

Tax System

Interestingly, Delaware has no sales tax. As such, its cost of living is lower than most of the neighboring states. Its local property taxes are also lower compared to most nearby states. Delaware’s low corporate taxes make it ideal for investment. In fact, Delaware is home to nearly 50% of U.S publicly traded companies.

Judicial System

Delaware’s judicial system is well versed in the business law. A good example is the Court of Chancery in Wilmington. It has a well-regarded forum for solving disputes related to internal affairs of business entities.

Capital

Access to capital is a critical building block of any successful investor. First State Innovation sponsors, Leading Edge Ventures, an early-stage venture fund based in Delaware. That helps fund investors at a critical development stage.

Internet Connectivity

The location might not be a big deal, especially for most businesses that rely on computers and online connections. As such, you will need a tech-savvy workforce and fast internet speed as your business grows. Delaware ranks among the states with the fastest internet speed. In 2015, Delaware ranked as the second most industrialized state in the nation. Leading companies such as CitiBank, Barclays, and JPMorgan Chase can now rely on Delaware’s homegrown talent to meet their needs.

Skilled Workforce

The presence of science and pharmaceutical businesses such as Incyte Corp., AstraZeneca, and DuPont Company adds to the strength of Delaware’s workforce. Delaware’s strength in industrial biotechnology, healthcare, advanced materials, and financial and legal services empowers innovators to accelerate and scale their ventures. In fact, DuPont is home to some of the world’s most important discoveries. It’s among the world’s first industrial research laboratories. Today, DuPont Experimental Station serves as a key research site. The facility helps researchers and scientists pursue science-based solutions for global markets. Starting April 2017, the University of Delaware and DuPont will partner to create the Delaware Innovation Space. The initiative will create opportunities for potential entrepreneurs. Delaware also takes pride in a highly skilled workforce and educated talent. Delaware’s leadership strives to meet the current and future talent demands through improved education. Over 26% of Delaware’s residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Education System

If you are looking to hone the skills of your workforce, Delaware Technical Community Technology will help you. The institution has over 50 years of experience producing highly skilled professionals. Again, a recently unveiled program, Pathway to Prosperity prepares high school students for jobs in high-growth industries. Delaware takes pride in its broad range of top educational institutions. In fact, Delaware is home to some of the best high schools in the nation. You will also find some of the highly ranked colleges and universities in Delaware. Just recently, its education system has been recognized nationwide. In fact, Education Commission of the States awarded Delaware the prestigious Frank Newman Award for State Innovation for initiating creative changes to improve student learning. Besides, Delaware is next to Philadelphia, a home to scores of universities and colleges.

Entrepreneurial Networks

As an investor, you know the importance of being surrounded by people whom you share values. Entrepreneurs have now recognized that it’s important to work with each other. Co-working spaces in Wilmington have increased significantly in the recent past. Delaware Technology Park is home to 54 science-technology companies. Again, the Philadelphia-based maker space will soon open a satellite center in Delaware. That will provide an additional outlet for creative crafters and artisans. There is a spirit of innovation in Delaware. In fact, Delaware is seen as more than a state. It’s a large community where businesses, education, governments, and individuals meet to interact with each other.

Delaware has a compact size. As such, its ability to promote collaboration between its four universities and five colleges, leading scientific institutions, the leading business community, and research centers is unmatched by neighboring states.
Recreation Facilities

Besides highly skilled professionals and the working environment, entrepreneurs may find much to like about investing in Delaware. Housing options range from urban homes, planned communities, beach houses to farmhouses. Delaware has the fourth-highest homeownership rate across the United States. Coastal Sussex County beaches have become a popular tourist destination in spring, fall, and summer. Sites surrounding the DuPont Company such as the nearby Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, Hagley Museum, and Nemours attract tourists’ year-around.

If you are interested in a career in arts and culture, Delaware is home to the historic Grand Opera House and opulent. Opened in 1871, the Grand Opera House has been the state’s landmark for over 135 years. The Grand Opera House presents over 75 shows each season. These shows range from ballets, symphony orchestras to the latest rocks and comedy stars. Folk, jazz, and family artists are represented as well. The First State Ballet Theatre, Opera Delaware, and Delaware Symphony are all hosted at the Grand Opera House. The 150-year-old Delaware History Museum attracts professional artists and actors from regional theaters and across the world. Other tourist’s attraction sites include Biggs Museum of American Art, the Delaware Art Museum, the Delaware Theatre Company, and the Delaware Centre for Contemporary Arts.
Overall, Delaware’s assets for investors include a highly skilled workforce, multicultural community, and fast internet speed. Other benefits of investing in Delaware include its strategic location, an agile, supportive and decisive government as well as well-structured taxes and court systems.

Gov. Carney Authorizes Banks and Credit Unions to Offer Prize-Related Savings Accounts

Governor John Carney recently signed House Bill 31, which authorizes prize-linked savings accounts in Delaware. These accounts will help people contribute more to their savings accounts and avoid financial trouble after unplanned expenses.

Prize-Linked Savings

Prize-linked savings programs, or PLS programs, make customers eligible for a cash prize when they make a deposit into their savings account. The more deposits an account holder makes, the greater their chance of winning. Like a raffle, each deposit of a specified amount earns the account holder one entry into the prize drawing. Depending on the program, prizes may be awarded weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. The prize amount also varies depending on the program, but even small cash prizes are a great incentive for people to contribute to a savings account.

The program was first approved in Michigan, where one financial institution offered a chance to win a $3,750 monthly prize and a $10,000 annual prize. Every time account holders deposited $25 into their PLS accounts, they received another entry in the prize drawing. One program in San Francisco offered a jackpot of $2 million in 2015.

PLS accounts were forbidden in the United States until 2014. Before 2014, legislation forbidding private entities from offering raffles or lotteries stopped banks and credit unions from creating PLS programs. This law changed when the House of Representatives and Senate both supported a bill that removed this ban. Other countries, including South Africa and the United Kingdom, have allowed PLS accounts for years.

PLS in Delaware

Delaware recently became the 15th state to approve PLS accounts. So far, Del-One Federal Credit Union, which has 10 branches throughout the state, is the first credit union or bank to offer the program.

Del-One’s president, Dion Williams, says they will make PLS accounts available later in the summer. He says, “The program Del-One is launching provides the incentive to save. It does promote thrift… By saving money, people can break the cycle of debt.”

Lottery and Savings in the United States

According to a study from the American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, in 2015, Americans spent over $70 billion on lottery tickets. However, 60 percent of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover $500 to $1,000 in unexpected expenses.

As the cost of living rises, it becomes more and more difficult for low-income and middle-income Americans to keep a sufficient amount of money in their savings accounts. The possibility of winning a prize is a helpful incentive, but it doesn’t cost money like lotteries or raffles. With PLS accounts, the account holder doesn’t lose money, even if they don’t win.

Melissa Schettini Kearney, an economics professor at the University of Maryland, says, “You can consider it gambling because there is a return. But in the case of the lottery or casinos, a person will lose the money they spent. With a PLS account, they will not lose the money.”

Benefits of PLS

PLS programs give people with low or moderate incomes extra motivation to deposit money into a savings account. Instead of being stressful or difficult, putting money into savings could be something exciting and motivating.

Other states that have found success with PLS accounts include:

  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Nebraska
  • Washington
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey

In 2009, a pilot program in Michigan launched with eight credit unions. By 2012, 58 credit unions in the state offered PLS programs, and there were 15,000 account holders with an average amount of $2,000 in the accounts. When the program launched, about 43 percent of account holders were not regular savers and were financially vulnerable. However, 65 percent of these financially vulnerable individuals kept their accounts open for more than a year. They had the same success rate as non-financially vulnerable individuals. PLS programs motivate people to contribute to a savings account and keep that account open.

The programs are also beneficial for banks and credit unions. A PLS program can increase a bank’s assets and allow them to lend more money. PLS accounts don’t usually accumulate interest, and the money the banks would normally pay in interest covers the cost of the prizes.

It will only be a few months until PLS programs in Delaware launch. Many Delaware politicians and citizens are excited about this financial opportunity, and the programs will hopefully increase the number and size of savings accounts in the state.

New Bill Proposes 25% Tax Credit for Angel Investors and What This Means For Small Businesses

The Angel Tax and Small Businesses

Recently, both terms of Angel Tax and Angel Investor have become more mainstream and popular. If you don’t have anything to do with business, this may be the first time you’re hearing these terms. This article will go over what an angel investor is, what the angel tax is, and what this means for small businesses and their owners.

What is an Angel Investor?

According to Investopedia.com, an angel investor is a person or financial entity that invests in either small businesses or entrepreneurs. These investors are usually the small business owner’s family or friends. The money can either be used to start a business or help a business through a rough financial spot. The angel investor usually trades the monetary investment for a stake in the business. An angel investor can also invest in a business or startup through a crowdfunding platform, or through an angel investment network.

Standards to Become an Angel Investor

Anyone who is looking to become and angel investor must meet certain criteria to be eligible. Anyone who is looking to become an angel investor has to have a net worth of over $1 million dollars and make between $200,000 and $300,000 each year. They must also meet the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) standards. They have a special branch dedicated to accredited investors. You must prove your annual income by submitting at least two year’s worth of income proof, along with proof that you either intend to keep earning the same amount or higher in the next three years.

What is the Angel Tax?

The Angel Tax is a 25 percent tax credit for individuals or investment firms that put their own money into startups or new businesses. The maximum credit you an invest is $125,000 or a singer person, or $250,000 for a joint investment with two people. According to Minnesota.gov, there are $10.7 million credits available. Of this $10.7 million credits available, $5 million is reserved for both minority-owned businesses and businesses owned by women.

Application Process

Your business must meet several criteria before it is available for the Angel Tax program. This is a four step process, and you must have the first two steps approved before you can accept any investment.

  • Step 1 – Certification. The certification process begins by applying exclusively online. You have to have all of the documents you need when you start the certification process because it times out after 20 minutes and you’ll have to start all over. You will also be charged a $150 application fee, and this is nonrefundable. After you apply, you will be contacted if more information is needed. If it isn’t required, you will receive an approval or denial email within a month. If there is someone that you want to act as a power of attorney for your business, now is the time to submit the Power of Attorney form.
  • Step 2 – Credit Allocation. Once you are certified, both the business and the investor must fill out the Credit Allocation application and submit it. Once your application is submitted, an approval or denial email will be sent out within 15 business days. As soon as this is received, the investment must be completed by December 31st or 60 days from the approval process.
  • Step 3 – Investment Proof. Once the business has completed the financial transaction, they have 15 days to submit an Investment Proof form along with two documents. A copy of the check that is made out to the business or a copy of the wire transfer. If you do a wire transfer, it has to show that the investor was the originator, with the business being the one receiving the funds. You must also have the business’s bank account receipt. This document has to have the businesses account number, business name, and it must show the money being deposited. Once these documents are submitted, the investor will receive an email stating it approves of the deposit and it was accepted.
  • Step 4 – Annual Report. The final step to apply is to file an annual report by February first. You will also have to pay a $100 filing fee each time you submit this report.

What Qualifications Does a Small Business Have to Meet?

A small business has to meet several qualifications to be eligible for the Angel Tax, and those requirements are listed below.

  • Have Fewer than 25 Employees
  • Pay Your Employees Annual Wages of at Least 175 Percent of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Be DEED Certified
  • Do Not Begin Trading Within 180 Days After an Investment
  • Not Exceed the 1 Million dollar Angel Tax Cap

What Does This Mean for a Small Business?

The Angel Tax means that more small businesses will have the opportunity to get started with the capital they might not have had access to before. This tax allows their family and friends to invest in their businesses easily and quickly. This tax has been extended, and we could see a surge of new startups and businesses all over. This will also give small business owners the peace of mind knowing that they will have something to fall back on if they run into a rough spot and need an influx of cash to keep their business up and running. More small businesses will stay open, and you won’t see as many families losing everything if their business can’t make it.

The Angel Tax is a resourceful way for investors, family, friends, and financial entities to give small businesses a break. As long as you follow the application process, it is a straightforward option to look into. Your business can survive and grow into a legacy for your family by utilizing the Angel Tax.