$15,000 to be Awarded to Chester County-area Students Who Show They Can Budget for College

$15,000 to be Awarded to Chester County-area Students who Show They Can Budget for College

WEST CHESTER, PA — Benchmark Federal Credit Union has opened a call for entries to Chester County-area students to compete for five college scholarships totaling $15,000 if they can successfully answer the question: Why is it important to start budgeting while you’re in college? Build and explain the components of your college budget.

“We are particularly excited about our scholarship question this year because it’s inspired by our recent survey showing local high school students vastly underestimate their cost-of-living expenses,” says Benchmark Federal Credit Union President and CEO Daniel J. Machon, Jr.

Benchmark’s survey shows that while living expenses are the top concern, the overwhelming majority of local high school students surveyed underestimate those expenses by about 50 percent, saying their living expenses would be $1,000 or less per month. According to the College Board, college living expenses average more than twice that — $2,081 per month — on a moderate budget for 2018-2019. (See below for complete results of the survey.)

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“We are committed to financial literacy across Chester County and want to support financial success strategies from childhood through our financial literacy programs in more than 60 public, private and parochial schools, as well as our 2019 scholarship competition,” says Machon.

For almost a decade, Benchmark Federal Credit Union has been presenting scholarship checks to students across the region. A total of five scholarships are available. Three graduating high school senior students will each receive a $4,000 scholarship ($1,000 disbursed during the fall semester of their first four years of higher education). Two students currently enrolled in an accredited higher-education institution will each receive a one-time $1,500 scholarship toward their fall 2019 tuition.

All scholarship applicants must successfully answer the question: Why is it important to start budgeting while you’re in college? Build and explain the components of your college budget. Essays of up to 750 words are due by Monday, April 15, 2019. The essays will be judged by an independent panel of community and education leaders. The scholarship program is open to students who already are, or are eligible, to become Benchmark FCU members, and do so prior to the contest deadline. The minimal membership fee to join the credit union is $5.00. Rules, Official Cover Sheet, and membership information can be found at https://www.benchmarkfcu.org/.

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Below are the complete results of the Benchmark Credit Union survey:

My primary money concern if I go to college is:
How to budget for my living expenses 34
How I’ll be able to pay back my college loans 29
How to decide which credit or debit card is best 3
How to pay for weekend fun 2
Other 1
How much do you think your monthly living expenses will be if you attend college:
$0 -$250 per month 6
$251 – $500 per month 13
$501 – $750 per month 22
$751 – $1,000 per month 14
$1,001 – $2,000 per month 6
More than $2,000 per month 8

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