BECU, the state’s largest credit union, and Washington State University have reached a five-year agreement that enhances the educational experience of WSU students and benefits University programming statewide.

New scholarships along with other lifelong learning opportunities are being created under the agreement, which also provides for official acknowledgement of BECU’s sponsorship of several WSU events and activities going forward.

“I want to express my deep appreciation to BECU on behalf of the entire WSU system,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “Our students are the big winners in this agreement. We are thrilled to grow our partnership with BECU, a progressive organization that shares our vision for building a vibrant future for the state’s residents.”

It marks an expansion of a relationship with WSU that has included previous projects such as development of a three-phase personal finance curriculum with Carson College of Business, which helps students develop money management skills and sound financial habits. BECU has and will continue to be a proud sponsor of WSU Athletics and has an ongoing partnership with the WSU Alumni Association.

“As a member-owned financial cooperative, BECU strives to improve the financial well-being of our members and their communities,” said Benson Porter, BECU’s president and CEO. “We are thrilled to partner with WSU as we share many of the same values, especially when it comes to helping students succeed in life. Through this partnership, we are supporting scholarships, student emergency funds, the Cougar Money Matters program, business plan competitions and financial literacy programs, all designed to help improve the financial well-being of WSU students.”

Cougar Money Matters

The agreement includes support for an expanded series of financial literacy and wellness programs known as Cougar Money Matters. It combines and enhances existing services with new efforts to provide a comprehensive financial awareness education platform for students along with a matched savings and emergency grant aid program for those in need.

Among peer institutions, WSU has the second-highest number of students qualifying for low-income grants, a group that is at greatest risk of not finishing college. Research shows that the earnings of WSU graduates are nearly 150 percent greater than the national average and BECU and the University see the expanded financial wellness program as a way of helping keep students in school.

Additionally, research shows a need for increased financial literacy overall, with students of all backgrounds lacking a full understanding of financial decisions that could have long-term consequences.

BECU Scholars

Under the agreement, a minimum of 20 scholarships of $2,000 each will be bestowed annually to WSU sophomores, juniors and seniors who have demonstrably overcome challenges to attend college or are at risk of non-completion due to financial or other life challenges.

The Office of Student Financial Services will be responsible for making the awards and the recipients will be known as BECU Scholars.

Students wearing shirts with BECU logo printed on the back.
New students and staff participating in Alive! sessions received shirts with the BECU mark.

Week of Welcome presented by BECU

The first major public demonstration of the expanding partnership will come next week as WSU prepares for the upcoming start of the 2019-20 academic year.

BECU is the presenting sponsor of Week of Welcome and all official references to the traditional kickoff for the academic year will reflect the designation. The sponsorship also extends to many of the week’s signature events such as convocation, the all-campus picnic and Move-in Weekend.

Indications of BECU’s expanding role began showing up over the summer. T-shirts provided to new students and staff participating in the Alive! orientation sessions are emblazoned with the BECU mark.

Mom’s Weekend and Dad’s Weekend

BECU also will be the presenting sponsor of the annual Mom of the Year and Dad of the Year awards, with all official references reflecting that relationship. BECU’s investment in these activities will support the Women’s Center and Student Involvement, which host Mom’s and Dad’s Weekends at WSU, respectively.

Other events and activities

It also will have varying sponsorship levels in several other WSU events and activities, including:

  • The annual Business Plan Competition by Carson College of Business.
  • The Seattle Power Breakfast by Carson College of Business.
  • The annual Murrow Symposium by the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.
  • Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine Medvengers Gala.
  • Carson College of Business Financial Literacy Education.
  • WSU Spokane Community Engagement Fellows Program.

BECU’s investment in WSU and higher education in general is inspired by research showing that postsecondary education correlates with greater lifelong earning potential and helping foster skills that lead to long-term success.