Money Fit Scholarship Winner

Money Fit by DRS Announces Scholarship Winner

Kentucky Sophomore at Transylvania University Wins First Money Fit Scholarship

Monday, August 1, 2022: Money Fit by DRS, a 501(C)3 nonprofit credit counseling agency, announced today the winner of its first-ever scholarship program. The winner of the $1,000 award is Abigail Isaacs, a college sophomore attending Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky.

Money Fit Scholarship Winner

More than 250 high school and college students from 40 states, DC, and an overseas military base applied for the Money Fit scholarship by completing a survey of their experience with and opinions about personal finance topics as well as answering questions about how money, debt, and credit work.

“As a nonprofit organization that helps individuals and households to get out of consumer debt and manage their finances responsibly, we felt a scholarship program was a natural fit for our mission,” says Money Fit education manager, Todd Christensen about the agency’s involvement.

Money Fit, a dba of Debt Reduction Services, Inc., is a national nonprofit credit counseling agency based in Boise, Idaho, with a call center on Long Island, New York serving consumers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It was founded in 1996 and serves tens of thousands of consumers and clients each year.

“This will help tremendously for my schooling,” Isaacs said of her award.

As for the questions answered by the applicants, “insights we gain will help us develop educational programs that better address students’ real concerns and challenges,” Christensen notes. “The data confirms much of what we know but also provides some surprising insights into the financial fears and the money management confidence college students take with them to campus.”

Scholarship Survey Highlights

Good job, Moms and Dads! Past surveys of high school students by Money Fit in the early 2010s revealed that nearly 80% of high school students had never had a conversation with their parents about money. In the scholarship survey, 55% of respondents indicated they had financial conversations with their parents at least monthly. Another 25% have had conversations about money with their parents more or less annually. Only 6% could not recall having such a discussion with their parents or guardians.

Believers in Savings. More than one in three college-bound or current college students believe their financial strength lies in their ability to save money (35%). Another one in five students (21%) see earning money as their financial strength. Another 13% believe their greatest financial strength is avoiding debt. On the downside, just 0.4% believe that their strongest financial skill involves budgeting.

Uh Oh! When it comes to what college students fear about money, debt takes the top spot. Not surprisingly, 54% worry more about getting into too much debt than any other financial issue. Eventually owning a home and learning to invest wisely take a distant second and third place, respectively, at 13% and 10%.

Misunderstanding Student Loans. The default repayment period for the vast majority of student loans is ten years. Not quite half of the respondents accurately identified this loan term. A full four in ten (41%) believe that they will have 15 to 25 years to repay any student loan debt they take out. Such expectations will result in financial frustrations upon graduation.

Underestimating Their College Experience. Surprisingly, even though these students are attending or planning to attend college, they greatly underestimate the value of their future degrees. Many studies have concluded over the years that a 4-year degree will double the student’s average lifetime earnings. Only 20% of survey participants correctly identified this benefit to their degree. More than half (56%) felt that their degree would only increase their lifetime earnings by 50%.

Student Loan Use. To a great extent, students understand the proper purposes of student loans. 90% identified housing as an appropriate usage while another 89% identified textbooks as such. Still another 80% knew that using a student loan for a campus meal plan is acceptable usage. Only 25%, though, knew that they could use student loans for other school-related travel expenses such as gasoline to and from campus. Even fewer (14%) realized that they could use a student loan to purchase a personal computer to do their school work.

Asking Leads to Discussing. As intended, the mere asking of money-related questions led to further discussions with a parent or guardian during the actual application for the scholarship. 45% of participants said they discussed one or more money questions with a parent or guardian while completing the application.

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