The National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA) has awarded college scholarships to three students who best described how they would pay for college on their own, how they would do it and how the cost would affect their plans. 

The awards were based on the students’ essays that were evaluated upon their originality, clarity and insight into the subject matter.

Lauren Berndt, who is currently finishing her first year of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at the University of Michigan, received $5,000 for her submission. 

Berndt explained that her parents required that she pay for 25% of undergraduate education, and she chose to pay for the final year because it allowed her to save money earned by working on campus as a Teaching Assistant and through annual summer employment at a law firm.  

Among the various options for paying for college, she chose student loans as her main funding mechanism. She noted that although the cost of education is substantial and results in lifestyle changes, she now has a broader view of “what it takes, financially, to survive.”

Alyssa Dloughy was awarded a $1,000 for her essay in which she noted “while the overall costs of college may seem overwhelming, there are many ways such as loans, financial aid and scholarships which help to lower the cost of expenses.” 

Dloughy advised that students seeking scholarships should not only maintain good grades but should also be involved in sports and fine arts programs. 

She advised that students should not stress themselves out over paying for college, and while paying for college may be something that many students fear, it is not as difficult as people imagine. 

Dloughy's advice was for “anyone going through the process of financing college would be to relax and use their resources in order to make the process a rewarding experience.”

Vuk Petorvic received $1,000 for his essay that analogized financing college to a chess match.  His first move was choosing a college and was followed by a decision to commute rather than live on campus. 

His next move was to “call a life line” by utilizing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which he described as “the all-important conduit for acquiring government assistance.” 

By using that resource and keeping a high GPA, Petorvic did receive grants, loans and scholarships as well as a paid internship. Concluding the analogy, he stated the “objective of this game is to pay for college and enjoy living life despite my lack of pocket money.

Sacrificing my chess pieces is like sacrificing time for myself, my friends and my family in order to maximize my potential for learning. . . Paying for college is ultimately a small part of an even larger game of life, and with each step I complete I move closer to fulfilling my long term goals.”

The Scholarship Judges were Shannon Battani (Asset Acceptance Recovery Services LLC), Maureen Killian (Calvary Portfolio Services LLC), Peter Klipa (Discover Financial Services), Brad McCurnin (Harvest Strategy Group, Inc.), Brett Murray (Credigy) and Matt Russell (TRAKAmerica).

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