Up & Coming Weekly

August 26, 2014

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 14 of 24

14 UCW AUG. 27 - SEPT. 2, 2014 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM At FTCC, we are committed to providing educational opportunities to all qualified students. From Continuing Education courses to degree programs through curriculum, the options are numerous. For students who have a documented disability, the Special Populations Office exists to ensure equal access to FTCC options. The process of registering with the Special Populations Office is completely confidential, and no disability-related information is ever shared with anyone (including FTCC faculty and staff ) without written consent from the student. In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), FTCC does not exclude otherwise qualified persons with disabilities, solely by reason of the disability, from participating in college programs and activities nor are persons with disabilities denied the benefits of these programs or subjected to discrimination. Students with documented disabilities often need testing accommodations (such as extended time testing and separate testing location) and/or academic accommodations (such as note- takers, preferential seating, breaks as needed, etc.) in order to put them on an even playing field with other students. For example, a student who has severe arthritis and is unable to write would receive the accommodation of a note- taker in his or her classes in order to get thorough copies of class notes. Students are often unsure if their diagnosis qualifies as a disability. The ADA does not give a strict list of what does (and doesn't) qualify. Instead, the ADA requires that certain criteria be met in order to determine a disability. Any student who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning or working) is regarded as having a disability. Students who need accommodations should visit the Special Populations Office at FTCC to begin the intake process and complete the following steps: 1. Submit the completed intake packet. A Special Populations Office staff member will be glad to explain the Intake Packet and answer any questions. 2. Provide appropriate medical documentation. Medical documentation must be current (within 5 years). Again, Special Populations Office staff members are available to answer any questions students may have about documentation. 3. Each semester, students are required to submit a copy of their current class schedule in order to receive accommodations. 4. The completed intake packet and medical documentation will be reviewed by the Special Populations Coordinator. 5. Once the review is complete, the student will be contacted to schedule a meeting with the Special Populations Coordinator to discuss specific needs and accommodations. 6. If accommodations are approved, the student will sign purple accommodation forms which will be sent to each instructor. (Accommodation forms only contain information about the accommodation, not information about the specific disability.) For more information, please call us at (910) 678-8349 or visit our office at the Fayetteville campus in Cumberland Hall, Rooms 313A and 314A. We look forward to assisting you with your educational goals! Making Higher Education Accessible by CARRIE NANCE CARRIE NANCE, FTCC Special Popula- tions Coordinator, Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upand- comingweekly.com. 910.484.6200. For students who have a documented disability, the Special Populations Office exists to ensure equal access to FTCC options. It probably doesn't happen as much as you'd like, but from time to time, you have some extra disposable income. When this happens, how should you use the funds? Assuming you have adequate emergency savings — typically, three to six months' worth of living expenses — should you pay off debts, or fund your IRA or another investment account? There's no one "correct" answer — and the priority of these options may change, depending on your financial goals. However, your first step may be to consider what type of debt you're thinking of paying down with your extra money. For example, if you have a consumer loan that charges a high rate of interest — and you can't deduct the interest payments from your taxes — you might conclude that it's a good idea to get rid of this loan as quickly as possible. Still, if the loan is relatively small, and the payments aren't really impinging on your monthly cash flow that much, you might want to consider putting any extra money you have into an investment that has the potential to offer longer- term benefits. For instance, you might decide to fully fund your IRA for the year before tackling minor debts. (In 2014, you can contribute up to $5,500 to a traditional or Roth IRA, or $6,500 if you're 50 or older.) When it comes to making extra mortgage payments, however, the picture is more complicated. In the first place, mortgage interest is typically tax deductible, which makes your loan less "expensive." Even beyond the issue of deductibility, you may instinctively feel that it's best to whittle away your mortgage and build as much equity as possible in your home. But is that always a smart move? Increasing your home equity is a goal of many homeowners — after all, the more equity you have in your home, the more cash you'll get when you sell it. Yet, if your home's value rises — which, admittedly, doesn't always happen — you will still, in effect, be building equity without having to divert funds that could be placed elsewhere, such as in an investment. In this situation, it's important to weigh your options. Do you want to lower your mortgage debts and possibly save on cumulative interest expenses? Or would you be better served to invest that money for potential growth or interest payments? Here's an additional consideration: If you tied up most of your money in home equity, you may well lose some flexibility and liquidity. If you were to fall ill or lose your job, could you get money out of your home if your emergency savings fund fell short? Possibly, in the form of a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage, but if you were not bringing in any income, a bank might not even approve such a loan — no matter how much equity you have in your house. You may more easily be able to sell stocks, bonds or other investment vehicles to gain access to needed cash. Getting some extra money once in a while is a nice problem to have. Still, you won't want to waste the opportunity — so, when choosing to pay down debts or put the money into investments, think carefully. What's Smarter — Paying Off Debts or Investing? by STEVE MCDAVID Deciding what to do with extra disposable income isn't always easy. STEVE MCDAVID, Financial Advisor, Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upand- comingweekly.com.

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