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Grant Prize MONEY Magazine Scholarship Winner

Grant Prize MONEY Magazine Scholarship Winner

Posted: 07.25.12

Joshua Parker and Jan Wagner present Money Magazine Scholarship check to Kimberly Ozuno

Congratulations to Kimberly Ozuna who was surprised with the news that she won a $5,000 MONEY Magazine Scholarship at Central Scholarship’s Student Award Ceremony this month.  Her name was announced on July 12th and with both parents in the audience, Kimberly excitedly received the check from Central Scholarship Chair, Michael Ward, and Central Scholarship Executive Director, Jan Wagner.  The MONEY Magazine Scholarship competition asked students to write essays about their experience at COLLEGE CASH 101 — a financial literacy event held in March.  Kimberly is a student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  The first three winners — Michael Greene, Ashley Banks, and Makruma Islam, were announced in previous months.  Kimberly’s winning essay is below.

Money Magazine Scholarship winner Kimberly Ozuno (center) with her family

I would like to begin by showing my appreciation for the College Cash event.  It challenged me academically and emotionally to push further to reach my highest potential.  I really enjoyed the wonderful speakers who were able to speak to us about their different experiences in college and where they are today. It helped me get a new perspective on the importance of college and how to manage the financial burden that comes along with it.  One of the speakers, Myra Halloway, a Human Resources Client Consultant, said, “If you do what you love, then you don’t have to work another day in your life.”  This quote stuck with me because doing what you love is something everyone wants to achieve and accomplish in their life, but many times they do not have the right tools or are unsure of how to attain this desirable career path.  I was able to go to the Breakout session called “Finding Money for College.”   I decided to go to this session because I knew it would benefit my parents, who are currently struggling with paying for college.  My brother and I are both attending college at the same time and I know it is hard on my father who has to support us and my other four siblings. 

During my senior year in college, I was accepted to nine schools, so I had a variety of options to pick from and many financial aid letters to look at.  The smartest thing to do, especially in our financial situation, is to go to school in-state.  However, as a young high school student ready to get away from her parents and get the college experience everyone was talking about, I chose to go to an out-of-state school in Virginia.  After the first semester, I decided the school was not for me and to help my parents with the tuition fee, I transferred back to Maryland.  Now I attend University of Maryland, Baltimore County and if I could go back in time I would have attended this school instead of the one in Virginia for the reason that I received more financial aid.  At the session, Angela Harrison and Jennifer Bauer shared important information about the types of college cash, need-based, and merit-based aid.  College students are sometimes unaware of these different forms of way to pay for school.  As a result, they graduate from college with large amount of debt and loans.  Since the discussion, I have become more aware of these types of aid and will try to avoid college debt. 

This event has also taught me how to build wealth after college by setting goals, creating a budget, and creating a personal financial statement.  Another quote that remains with me, said by Joe Kontoff is, “People’s success is due to ability, timing, and practice.”  I also learned the importance of maintaining a relationship with the people you meet as a key component in creating a network with them, because you never know when those people will benefit you in the future.  For instance, my high school counselor has always helped me throughout the school year, telling me about scholarship opportunities.  In my junior year, he nominated me for a program called Collegiate Directions Inc.  This program is a non-profit organization dedicated to help students whose families are financially struggling and need more assistance for students going to college.  During the application process for college, they helped me find resources to help pay for the SAT test fee and the college application fee.  This was really helpful, especially when I had applied to nine schools.  This bond with CDI last from high school through college, communicating through emails.  My relationship with Mr. Thompson also is intact till this day.  I remember when I was in school in Virginia and he would call me to see how I am doing and talk to me about my other options if I wanted to transfer.  It was nice to know that if I needed any counsel, I could count on him.  Now in school I make sure to get along with everyone and network as much as possible.
Next year, it would be nice to talk about other options if college is not affordable for some students.  Also, find ways to help those students who struggle financially and help them find programs such as CDI, to help families with low income.  This is very important because as our economy is getting worse it becomes harder for students to even think about going to college, since they have to help their families with their basic needs.  So as a result, many students do not have the time or motivation to go to school because they cannot afford it, and instead they get jobs to support their families.  However, I know if more people are educated in ways to help these students then it will have a ripple effect and circulate to other people, forming a network that strives to make sure these students are not burdened by financial reasons and are given the chance to get an education like everyone else.

Third MONEY Magazine Scholarship Winner Announced

Posted: 07.09.12

George Washington University campusCongratulations to Makruma Islam for winning our third MONEY Magazine Scholarship last week.  Makruma recently graduated from high school and will be a freshman at George Washington University in the fall.  She plans to major in International Relations.  The MONEY Magazine Scholarship was set up to teach students about financial literacy.  Those who attended College Cash 101 back in March were eligible to apply for the scholarship by writing an essay about the event.  Read Makruma’s winning essay below.  Stay tuned to find out who will win the first place MONEY Magazine Scholarship.  The announcement will take place at our Annual Student Awards Ceremony.

The Central Scholarship and Money Magazine College Cash 101 event on March 31 of 2012 was a very useful event for undergrad and graduate students that are in the search for money for their education either through loans or scholarships. This event was really helpful and significant. I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to attend this event.

One of the most important things that I learned at this event is about student loans. My family never took out any loans so I never really understood much about loans. At this event I learned that there are different types of student loans. There is the federal government sponsored student loan and private student loans. Government student loans are usually offered as part of a student’s total financial aid package that generally includes scholarships, grants, and work study opportunities. The amount of money a student can borrow depends on certain circumstances such as the student and the parents’ income level. Income level and other financial situations are all considered when deciding the amount of money a student is allowed to borrow under the federal student loan program. The private student loans are from private banks. Most student loans usually have interest that accrue over time which is why people end up paying a lot more money when they repay the loans than what they initially took out. However, most banks usually attach more amount of interest then the government loans, which is why it is best to stay away from taking out private student loans from banks if possible. There are two types of programs, unsubsidized and subsidized. The unsubsidized program lets the students borrow the money with interest accruing while they are still attending school. But the subsidized loans let the students to put off the interest accrual until they are no longer in school. But if one had the money available while they are still in school, it is best to pay these student loans off so that they don’t have to pay interest. Interest for the subsidized program usually starts after six to twelve months after graduation. Sometimes there are ways for extending the repayment period but that also means that the student will end up paying more amount in the total interest. Students end up paying monthly with the interest attached. One of the most important piece of information about loans that I learned from this event was that if a person pays their loans on time for a long period of time, about 10 yearly payment, then the rest of the loans that is left, is forgiven and the person doesn’t have to repay that amount.

Another impactful information that I learned from this event is to take every opportunity available. The opportunities include any jobs and internships because you never know what is going to be helpful in the future. If there is a job available to you and it is the only job that is available, even if it is not something that you want to do or is related to your career/major, you should still take that job because it will give a different experience. Also you will be making money, which most students need to repay their loans with.

I also learned that it is important to make connections with people so that they can refer you for jobs or internships. In order to make connections you need be presentable and make a good first impression with everyone that you meet. Also, to keep those connections, you need to be nice and friendly with your colleagues. You never know who will like you and refer you for an opportunity that will make a difference in your career or life.
Information about loans, taking every opportunity that is available, and making connections are all very important for students or young people who are starting to build their career. This information resonates with me because next year I will be a freshman at George Washington University. Because my financial package includes loans, it is important that I know everything about student loans and how to repay them. Also in order for me to start building a successful career I need to know how to make connections so that I can have opportunities available to me. I also need to take every chance and every opportunity that I have available and not waste time by waiting for something perfect.

Though the Central Scholarship and Money Magazine College Cash 101 event gave some very important information about how to survive financing for college, they didn’t talk about one issue that I think is very important. They didn’t exactly say what a person can do if he or she graduates from college and can not repay the large amount of student loan, because they do not have a job, due to the economic situation right now. The amount of interest will keep on accruing, while the person is jobless. I think this information is very important because the economy right now is not at a very good place right now and many students are getting out with great degrees but yet they can not find a job. Other than this bit of information, Central Scholarship and Money Magazine College Cash 101 event did an excellent job informing students how to find money for college.