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Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is: Balancing the Books on Opportunity

Posted April 30, 2012
enter photo description
Kent State accounting instructor Don McFall, and students
Kortney Danas (left) and Casey Frame (right), discuss the
impact that scholarships have on student success.

From early childhood, Casey Frame’s (Accounting, ‘12) mother told her that she would have to pay for college someday. “I took it to heart,” Frame says, “and started saving every penny I received on birthdays and at Christmas, from showing and selling animals at the county fair, and from jobs I had starting at age 16.” Frame estimates that by the time she was ready to start school at Kent State University, she had saved roughly $10,000. Add to that the three scholarships she received while at Kent State, along with working 20 to 25 hours per week, Frame will graduate this year with a degree in accounting and absolutely no student loans. That’s zero debt.

Kortney Danas (Accounting, ‘12) also worked her way through school and received scholarship support and financial aid. As an undergraduate student, she says that ratio was about 50 percent scholarships and 50 percent loans. Now as a graduate student, that figure is closer to 90 percent scholarships and 10 percent financial aid and loans.

“The opportunities I had as a result were so important. If it weren’t for my scholarships, I’d have had to work a lot more and participate less in valuable organizations like Beta Alpha Psi (the nationally recognized accounting association). Many students tell me they’d love to join BAP, but can’t, because they have to work [to pay for school],” Danas says.

Both Frame and Danas have been extensively involved in the Kent chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, donating their time and talents to help other students. According to their instructor and Accounting Association advisor, Don McFall, Frame and Danas “are two examples of students who have made the most of their opportunities in BAP, and then turned around and helped others. It really affects their quality of experience here at Kent State.”

McFall knows a thing or two about giving back. He has been at Kent State for 23 years and has established several scholarships out of his own pocket. McFall received the Outstanding Teaching Award in 2010. Last year, he was named an Outstanding Faculty Advisor – and he gave the $5,000 awarded he received back to the university for accounting scholarships. Ever humble, McFall says “They gave me something that I didn’t really feel like I earned. The award wasn’t about me; it was about everything that [our students] have done.”

McFall — whose students call him “the singing accountant” because he occasionally bursts into song while teaching — supports scholarships because he appreciates what Kent State has given him.

“I consider myself the most overpaid and overappreciated person in the building,” he says. “If anybody follows me around and sees how much fun I’m having, they may not pay me at all! It’s easy for me to give back. Whenever you can, give to things that you have a passion for —this has been my life’s work — I want to perpetuate that and make sure that the things we accomplished in our organization continue.”

Frame will never forget the difference that scholarships have made in her life and wants to pay that forward by supporting BAP’s alumni fund. “I want to support accounting students, the people who are pushing and doing the work. My passion is for the kids who are out there working for school, whose parents aren’t paying for them to go.”

McFall adds, “It’s important for students to know that they’ve helped others. It’s the start of a lifetime relationship. They leave here with a good feeling about what they’ve done, and they’ve learned about the obligation that they have to the people coming behind them.”

At Kent State, The Last Dollar Scholarship fund was created to provide support for students who may experience circumstances that create an unanticipated need for additional financial support. Without such support, many students with emergency needs might not be able to remain enrolled and on track to earning their degrees. Please consider supporting The Last Dollar Fund on your campus, or click here to learn about other ways to support students like Casey and Kortney or to support any of thousands of funding possibilities.