Managing money in college

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“I learned that credit unions offer competitive loan rates if we need college funding beyond our scholarships and any grants or loans we’re offered through filling out the FAFSA,” PHS senior Olivia Tae said. “And I learned that eCo will deposit $5 for an A/B report card in your eCo account!”

Tae’s reaction to the presentation provided by eCo Credit Union Foundation guest speakers Melissa Stewart and Georgia Hux mirrored her classmates’ reactions.

“I’m an eCo member,” senior Isabella Finley said. “Am I eligible for the scholarship? I have a savings account, but I’m not sure how much money is in it.” All of the students were excited to hear that eCo offers member scholarships.

“You’re eligible,” Hux said. “Only $1 is required to open an account and be eligible. Your account has more than $1.”

In our Competitive Writing/Scholarship Search Class, we search for scholarships constantly—and I push students to write and rewrite for most of these scholarships. Writing an essay is the most frequent requirement for scholarships along with an application. Currently, video scholarship competitions are popular requiring student-created videos. For Scholastic Art and Writing, students choose from many categories of art or writing to compete for prizes for individual pieces or senior portfolio scholarships of up to $10,000.

In addition to finding scholarship money, completing FAFSA paperwork, and ACT review and study, students also enjoy instruction preparing them for college life.

“Compound interest is your friend at your age if you’re saving,” Stewart said and she used graphics to share the miracle of compound interest for teenagers.

Stewart and Hux explained the negative effects of interest when using credit cards or talking out loans as they walked students through funding sources for college. They also explained how building a strong credit background is helpful for establishing credit.

We’re working to win all the money that students need for college. Once they’re in college, students need the skills to budget and manage the funds they have. Thanks to eCo Credit Union Foundation’s Melissa Stewart and Georgia Hux, PHS students are prepared.