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Susan Tompor: April brings virtual tips on student loans, housing, more

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

April is a month when most adults are hyper-focused on their money. After all, how can anyone ignore their cashflow situation if they're waiting for a tax refund or they owe taxes by a typical April 15 deadline?

This year, the federal income tax deadline — and the Michigan state income tax deadline — were both extended until May 17 in light of the ongoing problems relating to COVID-19 and a long list of tax-time challenges.

Even so, financial awareness programs will roll ahead in April, which is the official financial literacy month. Many events, of course, will be online only.

The Federal Reserve of Chicago's Money Smart Week will be all virtual in 2021, hosting eight webinars from April 10 through April 17. This year's focus is on reaching consumers who face financial challenges related to COVID-19's impact on the jobs and the economy.

The live event on April 13, for example, will address "Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans" to help parents and students get an overview of federal student loan programs and learn how the federal loan program has adjusted to consider the impacts of COVID-19 on college loan borrowers. See www.moneysmartweek.org.

The student debt presentation also will cover how to create an FSA ID, which is a username and password that gives you access to Federal Student Aid’s online systems. And you can expect information on loan servicers, private student loans, debt relief scam prevention, credit monitoring, and default prevention.

 

The scheduled speaker is Fred Stennis, supervisor and senior adviser of the customer outreach division for the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid program.

The Michigan Financial Wellness Network will offer online story times in April through local libraries and featuring the book "Give It" by Cinder McLeod. Children will receive a free copy of the book, compliments of Michigan Credit Unions.

Other topics for virtual events include: Tax-related fraud and identity theft on April 14; managing personal finances during COVID-19 on April 15; and housing protection that will highlight resources that can help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus national emergency on April 16.

The shift to the virtual programming was driven by the pandemic and designed to ensure that seminars remain free, open to the public, and provide relevant information, according to a Money Smart Week spokesperson.

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