A former Mount Maunganui College student has managed to complete her degree debt free thanks to a number of scholarships and plenty of hard work.
Darelle Howard, who studies at the University of Waikato and is completing a bachelor of social sciences with honours, said hard work and asking lots of questions was the key to achieving zero debt.
"I apply for every scholarship I'm eligible for, I work part-time and I ask lots of questions, which has opened up lots of funding opportunities," Miss Howard said.
Miss Howard won five scholarships, totalling more than $27,000. The latest was a $6000 Freemason's University Scholarship. She also received a $5000 Vice-Chancellor's Academic Excellence School Leaver Scholarship for achieving NCEA endorsed with excellence.
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"Some scholarships have a long application process but it's worth the effort if you're successful. It's not a bad hourly rate really," she said.
On top of the scholarships, Miss Howard receives student allowance from StudyLink and works part-time during the semester and full-time over the breaks.
Although it had been stressful at times to juggle work and study, not having a student loan was something Miss Howard was proud of.
"A bit of hard work can go a long way and there are so many support services at university to help - you've just got to ask," she said.
With the new Applicant Day event coming up on Saturday, September 19, Miss Howard said it was the perfect opportunity for people to visit the campus and talk one-on-one to university staff about study and finance options.
Applicant Day runs from 10am to 3pm at the Hamilton campus and makes applying for tertiary study easier. The event gives prospective students the opportunity to get guidance on their study options and complete their applications on the day.