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The Penn Student Federal Credit Union has ATMs located around campus, including one in Huntsman Hall.

Credit: Jesse Zhang

The Penn Student Federal Credit Union has opened applications for its second annual Financial Wellness Scholarship with a grant-based prize of $1,000.

The scholarship — which closes on March 31 — is open to all Penn undergraduate students who receive financial aid or have outstanding student loans. Applicants must answer three short essay questions related to financial literacy and wellness, which will be reviewed by a committee of SFCU board members who will select two recipients.

The scholarship is a part of SFCU Cares, an initiative designed to improve financial well-being at Penn. The SFCU first implemented the scholarship last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and over 40 students applied.

College junior and SFCU Director of Investments Andrew Wang said that students have faced a wide variety of financial hardships amid the pandemic. 

“A lot of students had to provide housing and food for themselves. Work-study jobs were canceled. These unexpected shocks and financial challenges make it difficult for people,” Wang said.

SFCU Director of Marketing and College sophomore Anna Komisarof said that its launch was a huge success.

“We saw how much impact this scholarship can have on an individual, and wanted to continue being a proponent of improving financial literacy within Penn,” Komisarof said.

To make it more accessible to students in need, the SFCU is offering the 2022 scholarship to members of the Penn community beyond those who have an account with them. Wang added that the SFCU is looking for students who have demonstrated financial literacy and a commitment to financial wellness throughout their lives. 

The SFCU — the first and only student-run credit union in the Ivy League — runs several other programs, including a partnership with the personal finance app Zogo and a free credit builder initiative.

By completing different modules, students can earn incentives on Zogo such as credits to use for gift cards and checking account bonuses. This partnership is available to all students who have an account with the SFCU. Wang added that the credit builder initiative allows students to build credit in a risk-free way.

“The SFCU is geared to help students, whether opening an account or seeking employment with us,” Wang said.