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Jun 5, 2017

H.R.C.U. Offers Grants to School Kids

The school year is not yet over, but parents are no doubt starting to turn their attention to the plans for the coming new one. Holy Redeemer Credit Union Limited consistently ranks education among the top three reasons given for loans to members. Scholarships are active, but for a reasonable means of helping to pay for the cost of an education, members of H.R.C.U. need look no further than the Henry Charles Usher Educational Grant Program, which has given out more than four million dollars in the twelve years since its inception. The lines for application at H.R.C.U.’s office on Hyde’s Lane in Belize City on Saturday were long and News Five’s Aaron Humes checked it out first-hand. He files the following report.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Belizeans from across the nation lined up very early on Saturday morning –  along Hyde’s Lane, all the way back to the bridge in front of Holy Redeemer Cathedral and Bottom Dollar. The Holy Redeemer Credit Union Limited office was open on this particular Saturday for applications for an annual gesture of support for its “member-owners,” as its membership is called.

 

Clement Usher

Clement Usher, Chief Financial Officer, Holy Redeemer Credit Union Limited

“It comes from our reserves; it comes from what we make at the end of the year, from our profits. We set it aside and normally it’s between three hundred to four hundred thousand per year but sometimes it goes over. It depends on how many applications we receive. And then there is a special grant committee that meets, and they decide who receives these grants.”

 

Every one of H.R.C.U.’s nearly fifty-four thousand strong membership is eligible, and in addition to the application form and recent transcripts, report cards, admission letter and school or character recommendation where necessary, first-time high school and junior college/university applicants are asked to write a short essay about the life of the namesake of the program – Henry Charles “Eagles” Usher, late husband of soon-to-be centenarian general manager and treasurer of H.R.C.U., “Miss Jane” Usher.

 

Clement Usher

“Henry Charles, who the grant is named after, is a founding member of Holy Redeemer Credit Union – he was the first registrar, the first Belizean Registrar [of Credit Unions] so he was around when the first laws were being written; at the time it was called the ordinance, but now we have our own credit union laws which we are regulated under. But he is like a pillar of H.R.C.U.; he and Miss Jane are the ones who have been here for years and years. And of course we have good committee members, we have good directors and together they have brought this credit union to where it is – it is the biggest in Belize and it is almost the biggest in the entire Caribbean region. So that’s the reason why we felt that it was only right to give this honor to him and name this grant program after him.”

 

According to Chief Education Officer and member of H.R.C.U.’s Credit Committee, Dr. Carol Babb, those who apply for the grants are expected to maintain high educational standards.

 

Carol Babb

Carol Babb, Member, Credit Committee, Holy Redeemer Credit Union Limited

“The student must provide his or her report card, and the student must maintain at least a 2.0 G.P.A.; there must be a recommendation from the school, or from the child’s teacher; the member-owner must not be a delinquent member-owner, meaning in other words the member-owner must be in good standing, and he or she will be able to get the grant for his or her child; so all member-owners benefit.”

 

H.R.C.U. typically grants about eighty percent of applicants the grants they ask for, and trust them to use it as they deem appropriate.

 

Carol Babb

“The grant is deposited in the member-owner’s account and he or she uses it – we hope it’s to be used for educational purposes.”

 

Clement Usher

“It’s used for tuition; it’s used for books; it’s used…”

 

Carol Babb

“For uniforms – whatever the member-owner decides.”

 

Clement Usher

“Because it’s additional, because there are other people who give scholarships and we do have tuition from the Ministry of Education…”

 

Carol Babb

“Right, they have the subsidy.”

 

Clement Usher

“This is a supplement to help the family, because everything is difficult – the times are difficult for some families and this is one way of us helping the member-owners of our credit union.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Application deadline is June sixteenth, no exceptions, and the lucky recipients get their grants by July tenth. Grants are approved for one academic year but may be renewed on an annual basis per the criteria listed in the story. Only one grant per family is awarded except as determined by the Grant Committee if not all grants are applied for or approved in a particular category.

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