By Natalie Davila
“As a college student, it is important to pursue scholarships because free money is awesome money,” Gina Coffman, financial aid adviser, said.
Receiving a scholarship to pay for tuition or books can take away personal stress. There are many types of scholarships with different requirements.
Brookhaven College held its third Financial Literacy Series April 18 in Room S220. The SkillsShop provided students with tips on scholarships and had bankers as special guests to talk about finance.
Alejandro Martinez, BBVA Compass branch retail executive, said, “One important thing [for] a customer to remember is developing a good relationship with your banker.” Martinez also saidcustomers should not be afraid to ask questions and take time to learn how their preferred bank runs is vital to their personal finances.
Martinez said students should keep up with any transactions, spending amount and their bank account’s balance.
One way to save several trips to the bank is by using mobile apps. “The online banking tool is fantastic,” Martinez said. Banks have apps that allow customers to check their accounts from any place, saving them gas and time.
Sorana Bartha, BBVA Compass financial sales adviser, said, “You can put as low as $25 in your savings account to start out.”
Before a customer thinks about budgeting, Bartha said they should start with saving money. “Anyone can save money,” she said.
Bartha said students should avoid overdrafting their checking account. She also suggested students set an automatic transfer from their savings account to their checking account.
Coffman provided insight on scholarships. Students may request a scholarship resource lists by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Type in “Scholarship Tips” in the subject line to receive a scholarship resource list.
Coffman said scholarship donors look at where a student is now and where they plan on going in the future. She said scholarship committees can tell if a student is genuine or not by what they write.
“A good 80 percent of the scholarship essays I have read are terrible,” Coffman said.
Students get discouraged from scholarships when they find out an essay is required, but said she encourages students to practice writing. She said it helps with scholarships, but also benefits students’ lives.
Going for the automatic sob story essay will not guarantee a student a scholarship, Coffman said. It is important to trust the scholarship process and not lie in essays or look for scholarships that do not require an essay.
Precious Akanuhu, Brookhaven student, said, “I was a little embarrassed because I felt like I asked a lot of questions, but I was finding out a lot about scholarships that would help me and my sisters out.”
Coffman said, “Remember getting educated is a process, but becoming educated is a transformation.”