by Chloe Niu, Wharton Student & FMFCU Intern

Knowing where and with whom to invest is difficult. A plethora of promotions and interest rates from various financial institutions threatens a storm of confusion, but there is an investment that has proven its worth and it isn’t the typical monetary transaction. Benjamin Franklin discovered where he should be investing a long time ago: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Education is an invaluable opportunity for students to explore their interests, and more students are giving greater weight to the value of learning. It is projected that 20.6 million students will attend American colleges and universities this fall, an increase of 5.2 million since fall 2000 (National Center for Education Statistics, Back to School Statistics). While education is certainly a worthwhile investment, the high return rate requires a large principal. The financial future beyond post-secondary education often depends on financial preparation of students and their families. Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union (FMFCU) recognizes its members’ need for service with educational endeavors and is committed to supporting students in pursuit of higher education through multiple venues.

FMFCU’s Partners in Education Foundation was established to support academic achievement programs and to support financial literacy. The Foundation supports these two initiatives through multiple programs and recognitions, such as Financial Fitness courses, Delco Hi-Q (the nation’s oldest, continuous academic quiz competition), Excellence in Teaching Awards, scholarships, leadership awards, and the region’s premier academic achievement event, the annual Partners in Education Celebration. The recognition of academic achievement promotes love for learning and sparks competitive spirit in the classroom.

Helen Qi is one of eleven high school seniors presented with the 2017 John D. Unangst Scholarship at the Partners in Education Celebration. She applied through the competitive process in which students submit their high school transcripts and essays on a prescribed topic. “This scholarship motivates me to continue studying what I’m passionate about and builds a foundation for reaching my career goals,” Qi said. “It’s very beneficial for the Credit Union to continue [the scholarship] because it will inspire future students to further advance their educations as well. I’m appreciative to be one of the recipients and beyond grateful for the Credit Union offering such a scholarship.” Qi will attend the University of Pennsylvania this fall to study computer science.

Qi also applauded the scholarship’s desire to reach out to all students. “Since this scholarship is based on both an essay and academic achievements, I like how it broadens consideration for students coming from different backgrounds and possessing different interests.”

FMFCU also furthers its support of education beyond the Foundation; the credit union incorporates its advocacy for learning in its services. As college savings are gathered, they also need a place to stay—an account with beneficial savings terms. Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union offers the Coverdell Education Savings Account, a nondeductible account with tax-free withdrawals to pay for a child’s education expenses. The account specifically pays for qualified expenses such as tuition, academic tutoring, and books. Families can take advantage of these accounts to save in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Education is a large investment often difficult to make, but remember that an investment is a beneficial one when it creates future opportunities. As ambitious achievers, students thrive by feeding off attainment of knowledge. As they progress, FMFCU is there to help them discover their potential.