Scholarships Are Free Money for College

If your family will have a new college freshman next year, this is a great time to look for scholarships that will help offset the cost of an education. Scholarships are considered “gift aid,” meaning that they do not need to be repaid later. Some are one-time awards that can be used while a family’s college savings continues to grow; others are renewable as long as the student remains eligible.

While we hear a lot about athletic scholarships or awards for high academic achievement, no student should overlook the possibility of earning some scholarships. Many different types of organizations offer scholarships, so casting a wide net will help students locate the opportunities they are most eligible for.

Here are some tips for finding and applying for scholarships.

Use free scholarship aggregator sites online. There is no need to pay for a service with so many free tools available. Sites like ICANsucceed.org, scholarships.com, College Board and FastWeb all offer free searches. Students can often create profiles or filters to make the search easier.

Use school and community resources. The school counselor’s office generally has a list of local scholarships. Parents’ employers, civic organizations, area businesses, and religious and community groups are all potential scholarship sources. Colleges themselves often provide scholarship awards, so it’s well worth the time to explore the admission, financial aid and departmental pages of the student’s top college choices.

Complete the first application. Once one application is in, it may be easier for students to complete others. It may help to set aside time each week to search for and apply for awards. One to start with is ISL Education Lending’s Iowa Financial Know-How Challenge: Senior Scholarship at www.IowaStudentLoan.org/Know-How. In an hour or less, Iowa high school seniors can complete the required steps to be considered for one of 25 $2,000 college scholarships.

Don’t give up. It’s important to keep looking for scholarships because sponsors make their opportunities available at various times. The search should continue during the college years too, as students may become eligible for departmental or industry-related awards later on.

See the big picture. While smaller awards may seem insignificant compared to the total cost of college, remember that every scholarship earned allows savings to go further and reduces the need to take out student loans that have to be repaid with interest. Multiple small awards can add up quickly as well.



Pam Moeller Awarded Heritage Award for Volunteers

Fort Dodge Family Credit Union’s Board of Director, Pam Moeller was awarded the Iowa Credit Union League’s Heritage Award for Volunteers at the Iowa Credit Union Convention.   The Award Ceremony was held in Dubuque on September 16, 2021.

Pam has been a Board member since February 2001.  She has served as the Audit Chairperson for most of her term.  

Pam is a dedicated Board member always ready to step in and help wherever needed.  

Congratulations Pam!   A well-deserved award!

2021 Board Members:

Augie Lanning – Pam Moeller – Linda Mersch – Andrew Campbell – Chris Hanson – Curt Lehman – Marsha Condon – Dallas Woock – Josette White


Know Your Number

You most likely have a credit score, but you may not know how your score came to be. Having a good credit score can help when it comes to things such as getting a car loan or renting.

The first thing you need to know is that your score is comprised of several components. The largest portion is your credit history (35%), the amounts owed (30%), and the length of credit history (15%). There are also two other categories that include new credit that you have applied for as well as the types of credit that have been used.

Payment history is one of the most important things to keep track of as it can decrease your score drastically. Ensure that all of your bills are paid on time or prior to their due date.

The amounts owed on an account are usually referred to as your utilization percentage. Your utilization is calculated based on how much of your available credit is being used at one time.

Notes About Utilization Percentage

  • For example, say you owe $500 on a card with a $1,000 limit. You would be at 50% utilization.
  • There are three utilization percentages where your credit score can change. 30%, 50%, and 80
  • It is best to keep your utilization percentage below 30% for a good credit score.

The length of your credit history is especially important in younger individuals. When looking to establish good credit, keep in mind that your score will gradually improve over time. Just remember to keep making on time payments and keep your utilization under 30%.

If you need assistance, we are here to help! Whether you need to establish credit, rebuild credit, or just get your credit back on track, we can help you manage your credit score. Connect with us today!