COURTESY OF BECU
The BECU Foundation is currently accepting applications for its annual scholarships through Feb. 26.
The foundation is a nonprofit focused on providing scholarships to student members of BECU, said Katherine Taylor-Hurley, BECU community engagement director.
In 1995, a BECU member suggested giving scholarships to students. Since then, the foundation has awarded more than $3.3 million in scholarships to 1,246 student members, Taylor-Hurley said.
The application opened Jan. 1. Applicants have to be either graduating high school seniors, or currently in their undergraduate program already enrolled at a two-year, four-year or technical college or university, said Marissa Verzosa, BECU senior community engagement specialist.
Verzosa said those who are in graduate programs or looking to start graduate programs are not eligible. Students are required to be a member of BECU and be the primary account holder, Verzosa said.
Taylor-Hurley said the focus of the scholarship is on community service. The scholarship is for $2,500 and renewable for two years for a total of $5,000.
The foundation awards a minimum of 25 scholarships every year, according to the BECU website.
“We know that education is a clear pathway to financial health, and so being able to provide some support for our members’ education is also helping them achieve better outcomes in terms of their financial health,” she said.
Verzosa said the scholarship application requires applicants to list their community service and any other activities they are part of.
“We want to hear the inspiring truth of our applicants,” she said.
There are two rounds of scoring. The first round of scoring involves narrowing down the scholarship applicants and seeing which are the top, she said.
The second round involves a selection committee composed of representatives from various nonprofits that partner with BECU, Verzosa said.
BECU employees do not engage in the selection of the scholarship recipients. Outside organizations, primarily nonprofits, score applicants. Last year, more than 80 people from different organizations looked at the applications, Taylor-Hurley said
Taylor-Hurley said the advice she gives to those applying for the scholarships is for students applying to tell a personal story.
“We look for students who have unique stories and who have found ways to give back to their community in ways that make a real impact,” she said.