WSU, BECU to provide new scholarships

Financial assistance intended for BECU members, upperclassmen



A five-year agreement between WSU and BECU will offer at least 20 annual scholarships, which will supply $2,000 to sophomores, juniors and seniors. BECU will also allocate funds to “Cougar Money Matters,” a financial literacy and wellness program at WSU.

JAKOB THORINGTON, Former Evergreen reporter

WSU and BECU have reached a five-year agreement to expand and add financial aid and program sponsorship.

The agreement implements at least 20 annual scholarships that will be provided from BECU known as “BECU Scholars.” These scholarships will provide $2,000 to WSU sophomores, juniors and seniors.

Lee Harris, BECU’s director of affinity partnerships, said these scholarships are intended for upperclassmen to help them finish school.

“There are quite a few scholarships out there for freshmen coming into college,” he said. “We found there is a great need for financial assistance for students continuing their education.”

The scholarships are for students that are at risk of being unable to complete their education, Harris said.

BECU will also financially support “Cougar Money Matters,” a WSU financial literacy and wellness program.

Cougar Money Matters offers information and guidance to help students manage their money both now and in the future, according to its website.

Alex Pietsch, associate vice president of WSU’s Office of Corporate Relations, said the BECU agreement is beneficial because it allows the university to fund Cougar Money Matters better than before.

Pietsch first met with BECU representatives in May 2017, he said. He has worked for the last two years trying to make the agreement happen.

“It’s exciting to have an organization like BECU share WSU values,” Pietsch said. “It’s the right kind of corporate partner.”

Those values are providing a college education for students in the state of Washington, he said.

This is not the first agreement between the credit union and the university. BECU is partnered with WSU athletics and its alumni association. It also worked with the Carson College of Business to develop a personal finance curriculum.

BECU will sponsor several events at the university such as WSU Alive!, Mom and Dad of the Year awards, Week of Welcome and events hosted by various colleges around the university like the Murrow Symposium.

Harris said he hopes the agreement and the financial assistance programs help students understand budgeting and how to take on credit with BECU’s help.

While BECU members can attain a standard or the University of Washington themed debit or credit card, no WSU card currently exists.

Pietsch said he is continuing to have discussions with the credit union about getting a WSU-themed card.

“BECU has enjoyed its partnership with WSU,” Harris said. “We’ll see where that takes us  — there’s always something in the works.”

*This article was updated to reflect the status of the scholarships and the events BECU is sponsoring