Catching Up – EduCom Credit Union and My Education

When I started my second year of studies at Excelsior Community College in the Management Information Systems programme, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to fund the remaining 2 years out-of-pocket. I started checking around for possible options that I could employ to aid in ensuring that I stayed on track to completing my degree.

Most of the scholarships I found were not general offerings, but scholarships directed to students of specific institutions. My institution was not on those lists. After some time spent researching I realized that my only option would have been to get an education loan. Based on advice from others I learned that credit unions offered better rates on loans, compared to other financial institutions. As I was working in the education sector at the time, I looked into AAMM Co-operative Credit Union (now merged with UWI Co-operative Credit Union to form EduCom Co-operative Credit Union), who offers services to faculty and staff of educational institutions.

The Credit Union offers two (2) types of education loans to customers, secured and unsecured. The unsecured loan that was more appealing to me, had a ceiling of $250,000.00 which was just enough for me as my 3rd year tuition was $257,000.00. The repayment on the loan was 2 years. To qualify for this loan, one needs to have a minimum of $50,000.00 savinf in their  account. With this critical piece of information I opened an account in January of 2013 and made the necessary sacrifice to ensure that I got to that minimum savings requirement by August. I found that the best way to save was through salary deduction, the best way to save. If you don’t get it you can’t spend it :D.

In July, as my savings grew gradually, I heard that the Credit Union had opened applications for scholarships to successful GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) students, students studying to become teachers and a student studying an Information Technology discipline. Though I only heard about the scholarship days before the closing date, I hurriedly got all the documents I needed to submit with my application, and was able to make the submission minutes before the cut off. As the saying goes: better late than never. As it turned out, in the end I was awarded the Dennis Scott Memorial scholarship valued at $100,000.00. When I got the call informing me that I had been chosen, you can just imagine my excitement :). Given my luck with winning things, this came as a huge surprise. I can recall as a child sending in envelopes of product wrappers to radio stations and never ever winning. Then again raffles with thousands to one ratios aren’t very favourable odds. However I made the application in faith and having the grades to meet the minimum 3.0 GPA. I have always sought to do my very best and never aimed for just a passing grade. This mind-set had surely paid off, making me an eligible candidate for the scholarship.

Accepting my Scholarship award in 2013

Accepting my Scholarship award in 2013

On August 28, 2013 at the Credit Union’s annual scholarship awards ceremony I accepted my award with an overly heightened feeling of accomplishment.  Can you see it on my face 😀 ? I believe all the other awardees felt the same way I did. After all we worked hard and received recognition that we weren’t expecting. The excitement was intensified when I saw my photo in one of the local newspaper’s coverage of the awards ceremony. Mi head did almost swell lol.

Accepting my Scholarship award in 2014

Accepting my Scholarship award in 2014

No doubt this was a major relief for me as the amount I now needed to borrow was significantly reduced. I completed my loan application for the balance of the tuition allowing me to pay in full at the beginning of the year. I was financially worry-free throughout the year, only having to worry my head about tackling the upcoming courses. I continued to work hard, even more now that there was the possibility of getting help in offsetting my final year tuition. I am proud to say that all the hard work, burning the midnight oil at times only getting 3-4 hours of sleep, while working a full-time job, paid off as I accepted my 2nd Dennis Scott Memorial scholarship award in 2014, also valued at $100,000.00.

Addressing students at the Mico University Collage regarding my experience with the credit and benefits gained.

Addressing students at the Mico University Collage regarding my experience with the credit and benefits gained.

I was asked by AAMM to share my experiences with the credit union and the benefits I had enjoyed thus far, to the new batch of students at the Mico University College’s 2014 Welcome Reception. I graciously accepted and nervously shared my story to a room full of students. Public speaking is not my forte just yet, but I’m working on it.

On the 1st of June 2015, I started the final semester of my degree programme. Hard work and the gracious help and support of family and friends and the EduCom Co-op Credit Union are the driving forces that has brought me thus far.

I was like many person’s are today, of the mindset that borrowing is a burden. Yes I don’t like owing. However borrowing does have its benefits. If you look at education as an example, costs increase yearly, and if you are stubborn and think that you can save the full tuition and then start, you never will. Save yes, but also look at ways to supplement that savings so you can start your educational pursuits and finish in a timely manner. One huge benefit that the credit union’s loan offering has is a mandatory savings along with your loan repayment. At the end of the loan repayment period you can be comforted by the fact that you will have some funds saved up that has also grown with compounded interest.

Until the next article, walk good. Off to do some work on my capstone project.


Posted on June 7, 2015, in Geneneral and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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