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'Tis the Season For Student Scholarships

MADISON, Wis. (5/14/13)--May is scholarship season, with students graduating from high school and making plans for college. Credit unions offer assistance, not only through student loans, but through scholarship programs awarded to deserving students.

Click to view larger image Joseph Wambach, executive director at the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation, was the guest speaker at Trevose Pa.-based TruMark Financial CU's Financial Jeopardy Game and stressed the importance of financial literacy for young adults. (Photo provided by Trumark Financial CU)

"There is no more important investment we can make in our next generation of leaders," said Anthony Pili, vice president of sales and marketing for Palisades FCU, Pearl River, N.Y., which awarded $2,400 in scholarships this year.

Many credit unions find creative ways to determine winners for financial assistance.

TruMark Financial CU, Trevose, Pa., designed The Financial Jeopardy Game, a spin-off of the long-running nightly quiz show, to award $11,400 in scholarships. The sixth annual Financial Jeopardy Game tested 10 students' knowledge in subjects relating to personal finance.

Joseph Wambach, executive director at the Pennsylvania Credit Union Foundation, was the guest speaker and stressed the importance of financial literacy for young adults.

Some credit unions asked applicants to submit an essay in addition to listing their academic accomplishments and community involvement.

Fort Campbell FCU, Clarksville, Tenn., asked scholarship applicants to submit an essay providing two ideas on ways to promote financial service to their generation. The credit union awarded six $2,000 scholarships.

In awarding $2,000 in scholarships, North Star Community CU, Cherokee, Iowa, required applicants to write an essay based on the question "Given the fragile state of the national economy, with record unemployment and deficits, describe how having an emergency saving account is more crucial than ever. How might someone utilize their credit union to focus on saving?" (Chronicle Times May 10).

Scholarship applicants at Palisades FCU submitted a written essay based on the people-helping-people philosophy.

Even scholarship winners who didn't submit essays showed a willingness to help others. "I hope to open up a local clinic where I can serve the under-served healthcare community," said Nadeen Dakhlallah, who received a scholarship from Community Choice CU, Dearborn Mich. (Dearborn Patch May 12). "I believe that the success of our state depends on future generations who are willing to put their time and effort into enriching our society."

Community Choice awarded $100,000 in scholarships this year:

Among the many other credit unions awarding scholarships recently were:

  • Peach State FCU, Lawrenceville, Ga., with $97,0000 in scholarships;
  • State Employees' CU, Raleigh, N.C. with $580,000 in scholarships;
  • Black Hills FCU, Rapid City, S.D., with $6,000 in scholarships, the Credit Union Association of Dakotas said (The Memo May 8);
  • First Community CU, Jamestown, N.D., $10,000 in scholarships (The Memo April 29);
  • First Financial CU, Lutherville, Md., $147,000 in scholarships (Baltimore Sun May 13); and
  • Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo., with $20,000 in scholarships (St. Louis Today May 8).

Raising awareness about credit unions is one of the steps in the Credit Union National Association's, leagues' and credit unions' Unite for Good campaign to achieve the vision of Americans choosing credit unions as their best financial institution. As that awareness grows, potential members will turn to aSmarterChoice and Unite for Good websites to locate credit unions they can join and find out more.

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