Shock the moneymakers

By Ryan Pelletier

Have you ever dreamed of winning your own piece of $2 million? If you answered yes, you should have been in Rm. 277 of MacEwan Student Centre for the "How To Stretch Your Money [So You Don’t Have To Drop Out of School And Ruin Your Life]" seminar presented by the Students’ Union, the Royal Bank and the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office.

According to Student Awards and Financial Aid Officer Sharon Westlund, $2 million is the amount available every year to University of Calgary students– the best part is that this money is offered basically for free. The seminar was the Awards Office’s attempt to keep students "informed of awards and their situation at the university," said Westlund.

The bulk of the seminar was presented by Royal Bank Account Management Team Representatives Michelle Bellas and Linda Anderson.

Bellas, a former U of C Commerce major, said she understood the general student perception of the in-house Royal Bank service students receive at the MacEwan Student Centre location.

"After completing a banking survey, we [the Royal Bank] felt we were falling short on customer service," said Bellas. "This is our attempt to change this opinion. We want students to know that we are here for them to come to."

Bellas spent the majority of her speaking time detailing how to stretch the student dollar. First and foremost: budget, and stick to your budget, be aware that unseen expenses usually hurt the most and try to minimize credit card payments, because interest hurts. Perhaps the most surprising part of her presentation was the encouragement to use Visa because they grant a grace period and offer smaller interest payments.

Although the seminar’s turnout was small (17), it put a smile on SU Vice-president External Nassr Awada’s face.

"I was just happy people showed up," he said.

According to Awada, this seminar is the beginning of many initiatives aimed at fulfilling his campaign promise of bringing information about loans, scholarships and banks to students.

One of the main messages Awada sought to get across was that students don’t get anything if they don’t apply for the awards, loans, or bursaries, and this is not negotiable. Awada himself offered a simple word of advice: apply.

For more information, you can see page 477 of the 1998/99 University Calendar or contact the Student Awards and Financial Aid Office at 220-6925.

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