An aspiring physical therapist at Utah Tech and a civil engineering major at Western Kentucky University are winners of the U.S. Bank Student Scholarship program.
Madeleine Judd wasn’t sure how she was going to pay for her fall semester at Utah Tech. In addition to working early morning shifts at a bakery, she was contemplating selling her plasma to help make ends meet. Then she got a call that she earned a $10,000 scholarship from the U.S. Bank Student Scholarship program.
“I can’t even wrap my head around it. I don’t know how this happened to me,” said Judd, a sophomore who is studying exercise science with plans to become a physical therapist. “It takes a lot of pressure off.”
The scholarship is part of the U.S. Bank financial education scholarship program, which has given out about $45,000 in scholarships each year for the last decade. As part of the application, students must take a series of financial education lessons covering topics including student loans, credit scores and more to be eligible for the sweepstakes. About 22,000 students registered for the first-half 2022 entry period of the scholarship program, completing nearly 100,200 financial education modules.
Katie Erwin, a senior at Western Kentucky University, was this cohort’s other scholarship winner with a $4,000 award. Erwin, who plays forward for her college’s soccer team, is finishing up her degree in civil engineering and plans to pursue an MBA and sustainability certificate after graduation.
“My sister is just starting college this year, so this means my parents don’t have to worry as much about paying for my education,” she said.
The Louisville, Kentucky native spent about 45 minutes going through the financial education modules offered by U.S. Bank, finding the ones about investments and credit to be the most interesting.
“It was nice to get a more in-depth rundown of some of these topics, because in a year or two I’m really going to need it,” she said.
Judd learned about the scholarship program through Utah Tech’s financial aid office. She was intrigued both because it was a sweepstakes program and because learning more about financial fundamentals would impress her parents, who are both accountants.
“I have student loans right now and going through these modules made me feel a lot more comfortable in managing them,” Judd said.
Judd started college as a pre-med major but found the pressure of paying for everything herself and staying on top of academics to be daunting. She then took a break for a couple of years to focus on working to save up enough money to have a financial cushion when she returned to school. One of those jobs was working with an athletic trainer, and it inspired her to become a physical therapist because she could see the tremendous impact physical therapists have with people who are in pain.
“The first time around, trying to afford college was really hard,” she said. “It was mentally hard, and it was a lot to balance. This time, I know how to find joy in things and manage stress, and I really feel confident in who I want to be.”
The second window for students to apply for future scholarships in 2022 will be open now until Oct. 30.
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