FREE Workshop: Paying for College

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There have been some changes to the way high school students apply to FAFSA. Families need to know what the changes are, what the important dates not to miss are, and how to get students graduated from college not mired in debt.

Financial education speaker and the author of “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” Shay Olivarria will be facilitating a FREE workshop in San Diego, CA to help families figure it all out.

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In this dynamic one hour workshop students and parents will learn about the changes to the FAFSA application, scholarships, student loan types, and repayment options.

Families will leave with a handout of important terms, tips, and dates. Graduating from college is not just about having the grades to get in. It’s about finding a school that’s a good fit, paying for it without going broke, and creating a network to build a career.



What can I bring into the event?

Bring a pen or pencil. This is a workshop (you’ll be engaged) not a lecture.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Call (323) 596-1843

What’s the refund policy?

Early Bird ticket holders will receive a free copy of “10 Things College Students Need to Know About College” at the event. If you don’t show, you don’t get your copy. Books will NOT be shipped.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

Yes. Seating is very limited so tickets will be necessary. Showing your ticket on your phone also works (save a tree).

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn’t match the person who attends?

Yes. Whoever shows up needs access to a ticket. If you booked a ticket for yourself and now your cousin wants to come instead, that’s fine.


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Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. Previous clients include: SCE Credit Union, American Airlines Credit Union, the Yorba Linda Water District, Verizon, among others. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on,, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times.The 2nd edition of “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” is available now.



myRA Might Be the Solution for High School and College Students


If you’ve read “10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money” you know that I am a HUGE advocate of young people investing from retirement as soon as they have earned income. For many people that time is while in high school or college while you’re working part-time or eeking a living out of financial aid. Often, young people don’t know how to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or don’t think they have enough money to open one (get my list of investment accounts you can open for less than $100 here).

The United States government is here to help with the new myRA (my retirement account, get it?). According to the U.S. Treasury,  these accounts are:

  • Easy to set up (you can have the money deducted from your payroll check if you wish)
  • Designed to help people with little money or no access to a retirement plan from work.
  • No risk of losing money (funds are invested in a Thrift Savings Plan-like account)
  • The funds you invest are NOT tax-deductible but you also can take them out whenever you like without penalty.

The best part? There is no minimum amount required to start an account and according to Forbes, ” additional contributions only have a minimum of $5.” The goal is really to get you into the habit of investing when you are young and have few dollars. The return isn’t great (think 1% or 2% per year) compared to a regular traditional or Roth IRA or 401(k)/403(b) but starting now with a few dollars and little interest is better than not doing anything. also notes:

Account holders can contribute up to $5,500 per year ($6,500 if over 50) and may continue to contribute until their total account balance reaches $15,000. All funds are invested in a newly created Treasury bond

Once you’ve grown a nest egg big enough to open a traditional or Roth IRA, or you have a job that provides a 401(k) or 401(b) hopefully with matching, you can roll the money over into a new account.

Click here to find out more about myRA accounts.



Economic Summit and Student Leadership Conference – Las Vegas


The Economic Summit and Student Leadership Conference was held in Las Vegas at the College of Southern Nevada – Cheyenne Campus on Saturday, December 13th. Shay Olivarria, financial education speaker and author, spoke to three sessions of students and parents while representing the Center for Financial Empowerment in Irwindale, CA.

Topics covered included credit scoring, credit monitoring, credit cards, ROI and the differences between traditional banks and credit unions. Each presentation was about 50 minutes long and included PowerPoint, videos and large group discussion. The teens (both high school and college students) and parents were very vocal and were genuinely interested in in sharing what they knew and learning more about the topics.

The event was well attended and very well run. Perhaps Shay will be back in 2015.

A Young Mother’s Dream Scholarship


I just saw this message on Facebook:

If you know of any high school seniors (entering their Senior year this Fall) that would be a candidate for the scholarship program POSSE, please please send an email to!Today is the FINAL day for submissions Great opportunity for a full 4-year college scholarship… Please share & recommend! Thank you

The scholarship is from an organization call A Young Mother’s Dream. Get your application in today.

Mad City Money at Lynwood High School

The Center for Financial Empowerment (formerly The Foundation at SCE Credit Union) partnered with Lynwood High School to put on Mad City Money reality fair for senior students. It. Was. Amazing.

Lynwood Mayor Aide Castro photo bombs financial education speaker Shay Olivarria during Mad City Money reality fair hosted by The Center for Financial Empowerment.

Lynwood Mayor Aide Castro photo bombs financial education speaker Shay Olivarria during Mad City Money reality fair hosted by The Center for Financial Empowerment.

The students were super engaged, the volunteers were wonderful and Shay was amazing …  as usual.

Shay Olivarria and Mayor Castro at Mad City Money.

Shay Olivarria and Mayor Castro at Mad City Money.

Shay Olivarria with Lynwood City Council Member Gary Hardie Jr. who was on hand during Mad City Money.

Shay Olivarria with Lynwood City Council Member Gary Hardie Jr. who was on hand during Mad City Money.

Seniors Get Financial Education at Western HS in Las Vegas

Financial education speaker and author Shay Olivarria with WHS teacher and SCE representative after a day of workshops at Western High School in Las Vegas, NV for SCE Credit Union.

Financial education speaker and author Shay Olivarria with WHS teacher and SCE representative after a day of workshops at Western High School in Las Vegas, NV for SCE Credit Union.

How  awesome is it to be able to do something that you love and get paid for it? Friday, May 10th Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria was in Las Vegas speaking to more than 200 Seniors at Western High School about personal finance for SCE Credit Union Foundation.

High school students in Nevada are required to receive financial education and most take part in an online course, however there is no substitute for the interaction and feedbackloop of working with a live person.

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria talking about compound interest to Seniors at Western High School in Las Vegas, NV for SCE Credit Union.

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria talking about compound interest to Seniors at Western High School in Las Vegas, NV for SCE Credit Union.

During each hour long workshop students learned about the difference between credit unions and banks, the need to pay yourself first, what compound interest is and how it works, the parts of a credit score and credit cards, specifically the CARD Act and why paying the minimum payment on your credit card debt is problematic.


If you’d like to hire Shay to speak with your group, call (323) 596-1843.

10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on,, NBC Latino and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Poster Contest


February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. To get the word out about this very serious subject, the domestic violence help center, A Better Way in Victorville, CA, is hosting it’s second annual poster contest!

The Black Voice News says:

The poster contest is open to all high school students. The theme is “Teen Dating Violence”. The Grand Prize is $300, 2nd place is $200 and 3rd place is $100. All entries must be received by January 31, 2013.

All of the contest forms and guidelines are available online. For more information call A Better Way at (760) 955-8010.


A bit about teen dating violence from A Better Way:

Dating Violence iscontrolling, abusive, and aggressive behaviourin a “romantic” relationship. It occurs in both heterosexual AND homosexual relationships and can includeVERBAL,EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL OR SEXUAL ABUSE, OR A COMBINATION OF THESE BEHAVIOURS.


Baldwin Park Student Wins Scholarship He Didn’t Apply For

Raymond Tinajero just earned a $1,000 scholarship for being financially literate.

Raymond Tinajero just won a $1,000 scholarship that he didn’t apply for. When he scored in the top 10% in the nation on the National Financial Capabilities Challenge he was selected randomly by the Charles Schwab Foundation to get the $1,000 scholarship and a $1,000 grant for his school.

It all started with a financial education workshop from SCE Federal Credit Union in his Virtual Enterprise and Economics classes at his high school in Baldwin Park, CA facilitated by financial education speaker and author Shay Olivarria. According to SCE Federal Credit Union Foundation Manager Abby Ulm, “we facilitate between 40-50 financial education classes at BPHS each year”. SCE Federal Credit Union partners with schools in the community to help students become better acquainted with personal finance. “With an understanding of financial basics, such as budgeting, saving, investing and credit, these young people can avoid common money mistakes and experience financial success in their future”, says Ms. Ulm. Make no mistake about it, helping students helps us all.  Ulm is quick to add, “More financially savvy young people will result in a brighter financial future for all of us”.


Baldwin Park Students Score in Top 20% on National Financial Capabilities Challenge


After participating in classes on budgeting, credit, investing, insurance, and other personal finance topics Raymond took the National Financial Capabilities Challenge at school. His teacher, Mr. Craig Peacock, made sure that all of the students in his Virtual Enterprise class took the online test during class. Ulm thinks that high school is a great time to teach financial education, “By high school, most students have begun to experience what it’s like to have and spend their own money. Yet they are still sheltered from the aggressive credit solicitations and advertising gimmicks that become financial pitfalls for college students and young adults. In a sense, high school students are “clean slates,” financially speaking. It is the perfect time for them to learn the right way to manage money, how to build and protect their credit, and how to develop smart money habits”.

According to the Charles Schwab Foundation’s website, “ Scholarships of $1,000 each to 20 students selected by lottery from among the top 10 percent highest-scoring students nationally. In addition, five $1,000 scholarships will go to students who score in the top 10 percent among all participating students who attend low-income public schools. The Charles Schwab Foundation also gives grants of $1,000 to the school or organization that contributed to the student’s financial education, in this case Baldwin Park High School.

Raymond will use his $1,000 scholarship to attend Mt. San Antonio College in the fall. He says, “I want to achieve a master’s degree in Kinesiology and I want to be able to give my athletic trainer skills back to the world of sports”.

When asked if he has any tips for next year’s graduating Seniors he says, “All I want to say is that always keep track on all assignments, make sure all deadlines are meet, aim for improvement, and never lose focus of the goal to graduate”.


Improving Every Year

Abby Ulm, Foundation Manager at SCE Federal Credit Union, and Shay Olivarria at the Los Angeles Federal Reserve during a field trip with local high school students.

More great news! SCE Federal Credit Union Foundation (now the Center for Financial Empowerment) works with several high schools around the San Gabriel Valley and in the 2012 National Financial Capabilities Challenge 24 of the 415 students nationwide (that’s about 6% of ALL the students across the nation) were students that SCE Federal Credit Union Foundation worked with!

In 2012,  35 schools in California took the challenge (that’s about 67% of all schools in California) and the students that SCE FCU Foundation worked with scored really well. In fact, there was an increase of students that scored in the top 20% in year two.

In 2011, the SCE FCU Foundation had 10 students that scored in the top 20%. This year that number increased to 24 students. That’s more than 100% increase!  There were:

12 students from Baldwin Park High School

7 students from Duarte High School

5 students from Colony High School


Congrats to all the students and the team at the SCE Federal Credit Union Foundation!


7 Things High School Grads Must Do This Summer to Prepare for College

I’m thrilled that Popular Hispanics has decided to run a piece I wrote for high school graduates this summer, 7 Things High School Grads Must Do This Summer to Prepare for College.

Now that your child has graduated from high school what are their next steps towards a successful financial transition into college? Here are seven tips they should be working on this summer.

Check out the article by clicking here.

Scholarships for Foster Youth

Children’s Action Network and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption have partnered to create a national scholarship program, Fostering a Future, sponsored by Capital One, to benefit youth adopted from foster care.

The fund was designed to provide children who were adopted from foster care with the opportunity to pursue their educational goals. In addition, the fund will provide parents considering the adoption of an older child an opportunity for education assistance by adding this special scholarship to existing post-adoption resources. The fund is also intended to help alleviate some concerns about new financial obligations facing adoptive parents.

They are currently accepting applications. Applicants must:

* have been adopted from the United States foster care system after the age of 13

* be graduating high school seniors.

* maintain or improve qualifying grade point average throughout applicant’s senior year

* demonstrate financial need

Applications will be accepted between now and April 20, 2010. To download an application, please visit Children’s Action Network. If you have any questions, or would like more information, contact Children’s Action Network at or 800.525.6789.

Scholarship from Will.I.Am

From Education in Review:

Oprah is constantly encouraging us all to simply do what we can to help one another. Read to a child, help a neighbor with a ride, or donate money to a worthwhile cause — it all goes a long way in helping each other and our communities. When Grammy winner and Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.I.Am looked inside and asked what we could do, he decided to start a scholarship fund.

The I Am Scholarship was introduced on the May 5, 2009 episode of Oprah. He’d approached Oprah’s girlfriend Gayle King and let her know he wanted to send one kid to college, with some extra cash he’d made DJing. He wanted to help a student who had a similar background to him — growing up in the home of a single mom. Oprah’s team worked with Gayle to send him the names of four students who would meet and exceed his expectations.

When faced with making a decision, Will.I.Am simply decided to put all four boys through college, as the first recipients of the I Am Scholarship.

“I want to invest in America’s future, and I want to send you guys to college,” announced the benefactor to the four college-bound students.

Jaiquann, Elijah, and twins Barien and Darien were at a loss for words when they learned that their dreams of attending college would be financed in full. The scholarship will pay for four years of tuition, books and room and board. Will.I.Am only asks that they succeed, show the world they are the future, and “prove that single parents are the strongest people on the planet.”

No doubt these high school seniors are up for the task. They have outstanding academic records at Christiana High School in Delaware, where they are also track stars and work jobs to help support their single mothers. It’s the kind of foundation that helped them each land a place with the freshman class at their dream universities — Barien learned on the show that he’ll be attending Hampton University, while Jaiquann will attend Cabrini College, Elijah will attend Wilmington University and Darien will attend Virginia Tech.

Before the scholarship surprise they’d each given up that they’d be able to attend due to the financial burden. “When I got accepted there, I was actually pretty stoked and excited,” Jaiquann says. “But when I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to afford it, it just pretty much saddened me.”

Elijah echoed the sentiment when he said “I just don’t really talk about it and don’t really acknowledge it enough because I don’t really see it coming true.”

Oprah said that in the past 25 years the cost of tuition has risen 439% and is three times the cost of living. It’s a cost more than half of American families can’t afford to pay.

$10,000 Scholarship from Penny Arcade

Each year Penny Arcade recognizes one student shown to have the most potential to positively impact the game industry via a $10,000 academic scholarship.

Am I eligible for the scholarship?

As long as you meet the following criteria, yes!

1. Must be a full-time student attending an accredited college or university in the United States during the 2009-2010 academic school year (you must be currently enrolled in a program to be eligible; high school seniors are not eligible).
2. Must have the intention to enter the game industry in some capacity.
3. Major: Any field.
4. GPA: 3.3 minimum on a 4.0 scale.

Can I apply for someone else or on behalf of someone else?
No. The application and letter must be completed by the intended recipient of the scholarship.

When will the winner be notified?
A congratulatory letter will be sent in July of 2009. The award is contingent upon your written acceptance, to be returned within three weeks of the date of the letter.

What if I have a question that isn’t on this FAQ?
Feel free to send an email to

Scholarship for Cherokee Student in Oklahoma

From Cherokee Pheonix:

Cherokee Nation Higher Education Scholarship deadline is June 12

By Staff Reports

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation Higher Education Scholarship application deadline of June 12 draws near for the 2009-10 academic school year.

The desired outcomes of the scholarship program include strengthening the tribe’s sovereignty, increasing the capacity of its citizens and promoting the Cherokee language and culture, according to the CN Web site.

Applications may be picked up in the CN Office of Higher Education in the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex or downloaded at, as well as the CN Web site, under the “Check it Out” section.

Students may use a checklist of required documents that are to be included with the application. Students also must have applied for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. To apply for the FAFSA or to get more information, go to

High school seniors graduating in May can apply now with an official seven-semester transcript. Applications must be postmarked by June 12. Applications received after this date will be considered late and unacceptable.

Scholarship recipients are required to volunteer one hour of service to the CN or community for every $100 they receive in scholarship funding. For example, if a student receives a $1,000 scholarship per semester, the student will be required to volunteer 10 community service hours.

Students will be notified in writing when the Higher Education office receives their complete application. Students will also be notified in writing the first week of August if they are selected for a scholarship.