Admittedly, Francisco Montoya is a late-comer to car culture. His passion for cars was sparked as a freshman in college in California. After working on his own car when it broke down and doing research to learn more, he was hooked. He wanted to transfer to McPherson College and enroll in the only four-year bachelor’s degree in automotive restoration but he also knew it would be difficult financially.
“I needed a lot of help,” Montoya said.
His coach, admissions counselors and other staff members showed Montoya how scholarships and participation in the Student Debt Project could help him pursue his dream of getting a degree in a field he was passionate about.
“For every dollar I earn, the college matches it with a quarter,” he said. “At first I didn’t think that sounded like a lot but I realized over time it’s a lot of money.”
Montoya is a member of the Bulldog track team and works at Pizza Hut between 15-20 hours each week. He says being willing to work is a big part of the program but thinks that the support he receives from his mentor and working with other students in a small group is maybe the most valuable part of the program. The things he has learned about creating and sticking to a budget are things he will use the rest of his life, Montoya said.
“My financial advisor, I love him, he helps me with strategies about staying on budget,” he said. “I’ve learned so much from him. We meet at his house every month to review our budgets and his wife makes dinner for us, so that’s also nice.”
Montoya’s goal is to graduate with no student debt and he is confident he can do it.
“That’s the plan,” he said. “I know I can do it with the help of everybody here at McPherson College. When I get out of college, I will be able to focus on getting a new house, or getting a new car because I won’t have student loan debt.”