The atrium crowd in Millett Hall erupted in shock, joy and applause June 12, when the Wright-Patt Credit Union Savings Race 5—College Bound Edition champion was announced live on WDTN.
Bailey Spitler, a high school senior from West Milton won the competition and the grand prize, a $10,000 scholarship to the college of her choice. Spitler plans to stay in the area for college and pursue a career in nursing.
“What stuck with me in this experience was the importance of building credit. My credit score is 736,” said Spitler. “I don’t know how many 18-year-olds know their credit score, but I’m glad I know mine and I want to keep it high.”
After competing for eight months to save the most money for college, Spitler is one of three students in the competition considering Wright State for their college education.
Five students from the Miami Valley participated in the competition and were helped by financial coaches from Wright-Patt Credit Union. The teams saved on average about $29,000 during the competition.
The students and families were introduced to conventional and innovative ways to save money. Among other pitfalls, they learned plenty about the perils of amassing too much student debt, whether it be from student loans or credit cards.
“I really learned how to be more thrifty, to avoid loans if at all possible and go for the grants and scholarships,” said Spencer Wells, who is considering Wright State and Chadron State for college.
Should they choose to come to Wright State, the university has also pledged $2,500 renewable scholarships to all five students who competed.
“In this competition, these academically proven students and their families have learned the value of financial responsibility as it relates to planning for college,” said Jacqueline McMillan, Ph.D., vice president for Enrollment Management. “Wright State University was pleased to partner with WPCU in this important community initiative.”
Though they did not win the grand prize, all four runners-up will receive $2,000 scholarships from Wright-Patt Credit Union.
“I’m going to put the money I won in a college savings fund,” said Christy Carson, a junior, who’s considering Wright State because of its arts programs. “I’m really interested in Wright State’s acting program. When I toured Wright State and sat in on some classes, I was really impressed.”