Out of more than 100,000 registrants, U.S. Bank has named the five winners of its financial education-focused U.S. Bank Financial Genius 2017 Scholarship.
Over the course of two decades, U.S. Bank has provided more than $500,000 in scholarships to college students across the country through the program, including $45,000 this year.
Courtney Taylor, this year’s $20,000 grand prize scholarship winner, is an incoming freshman at East Tennessee State University who aspires to own her own accounting practice one day. She said that the scholarship will make college “a lot less stressful” and, along with college credits earned in high school, will help her condense a five-year master’s program into four years.
To further help students manage through the costs and stresses of college, several years ago U.S. Bank added a series of eight online financial education courses covering topics such as credit and investing. Students who complete courses receive additional entries into the scholarship sweepstakes. Among those who completed one or more of them this year, 95 percent said that they felt better prepared to manage their money.
Dina Habassi, the $10,000 scholarship winner, is a sophomore physiology major at University of Arizona-Pima Community College with plans to attend medical school. She said the courses changed how she thinks about managing her money.
“I have learned much in terms of saving and utilizing my finances … how to wait for and save instead of spending it on frivolous unnecessary items,” she said, adding that the scholarship will help her complete her degree without having to take a semester off for financial reasons.
Combining assistance and education is the goal of the program, said U.S. Bank Student Union director Ederick Lokpez.
“Educating young people about money is part of our social responsibility as a bank,” said Lokpez. “Over the years, we’ve discovered that many college students feel that personal finance is something they can learn later on – and are often unprepared for the financial realities of life after graduation. The scholarship is a little extra incentive to help students learn today so they’re better prepared for tomorrow.”
Jenna Hartwell, one of three $5,000 scholarship winners, is a sophomore public health major at University of Houston who aspires to work in healthcare administration. Having completing all eight courses, she echoed Lokpez’s sentiment.
“I learned very important information that will help me in my financial future,” said Hartwell. “I learned about managing my money in a college student state of mind, how to apply for financial aid and how to use my money wisely so that I am not drowning in debt in the future.”
Pat Swanson is a member of U.S. Bank’s public affairs and communications team.
Additional $5,000 scholarship winners are Jacob Lord of Tennessee Technological University and Zoe Winford of Johnson & Wales University.