The Lara D. Austin Financial Foothold Award

"Good financial planning leads to strong, resilient, and more charitable citizens and communities" - Lara Austin

A widely recognized industry benchmark that has become the standard for many positions in financial services.  It is a significant step for anyone with career aspirations in the financial services industry, which is why I decided to create the Lara D. Austin Financial foothold Award in early 2019 for Comox Valley students and to promote financial literacy.

I am proud to provide three scholarships of $1000 each year to graduates of the CSC through the North Island College Foundation.

Applications of the Financial Foothold Award must:

  • Live in the Comox Valley or surrounding area for last 12+ months
  • Be enrolled at North Island College, full-time or part-time in any discipline
  • Have completed the CSC in the last 12 months
  • Write a one-page letter about why they took the course, and what they hope to do with it

 

Click here to learn more about the application process and requirements.

 

 

STUDENT IMPACT - Below are testimonials from the NIC students who received the Financial Foothold Award.  Also, click here to learn more about how Scholarships & Bursaries help our community.

Dear Ms. Austin,

I can't express enough gratitude for this award. Working through a business degree is costly at times and awards like this go a long way. I also work with a physical disability so any contributions that can help with assisting me with school is so much appreciated.

I am in my first year of my Business Administration degree with a goal of an accounting designation. I have always liked math and really enjoy the accounting courses. I hope to one day have my own accounting firm. Since I am already quite familiar with disabilities and tax returns, I hope to help people with disabilities file tax returns and include any and all possible tax deductions.

Before this, I was a nurse. Due to a physical set back, I had to leave the job with much regret. I am glad I have found another passion and I look forward to helping people on a different level. I look forward to taking back some control and doing a job again that I can both enjoy and can be proud of the accomplishment that comes with an accounting degree.

I can't thank you enough for this award. I really want you to know how much this is appreciated and will be put to good use while I continue my hard work. I hope you know just how much these awards help a student, specifically of course, myself. Books, travel costs, course fees, etc., all add up fast and every bit helps. This will go such a long way in paying for those things. Thank you for your kindness and thoughts that went into creating this award. I am a proud recipient.

Sincerely,

2021 Student Recipient

*****

Dear Ms. Austin,

I would like to sincerely thank you for providing me with the Lara D. Austin Financial Foothold Award being for my Accounting education. Tears of gratitude overcame me when reading the congratulations notification email. I am deeply appreciative for the financial relief your generosity and support has provided me.

I am 29 years old and my partner and I have a now one-and-a-half-year-old son. I decided to further advance my education when my son was eight months old. I obtained my bookkeeping certificate in 2015 and have worked in the office setting for several years. Through work experience, I have become motivated and passionate to pursue obtaining an accounting degree and am now striving for my CPA. I am currently in my first year and attending NIC through online learning.

Due to waitlists for childcare and my partner working away from home, I have not been able to obtain a part-time job. To be honest, I don’t think I would be capable of working part-time, while also being the sole care giver to our son and full-time student. Therefore, it has been extremely financially stressful on both my partner and I while attending college. Your generous award has helped remove the tremendous guilt I have been feeling from not working and has relieved the financial stress for my winter term courses!

I am proud to say that I have successfully passed my first four courses with A’s and with your generosity and support I am able to strive to continue focusing on achieving my academic goals free from financial stress and guilt. Thank you for believing in me and helping me with pursuing my accounting degree! Lastly, thank you for inspiring me to help someone one day the way you have helped me!

Sincerely,

2021 Student Recipient

******

Dear Ms. Austin,

Finding out I was selected for this award lifted all of my extra stress surrounding my monetary situation and paying for tuition from my final year. Work has been extremely difficult this year with COVID-19 protocols in place and I am thrilled to know I will have some financial breathing room this year during school. I can’t thank you enough for your support!

I knew right away that business administration with the accounting option was right for me. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed the finance courses and working with numbers. I'm loving the accounting and taxation courses and putting in the work to truly understand the details. I also enjoy working with people and would love to get a job that allows me to do both. So far, I have not decided on where, specifically, I want to work.

Thank you again for this award and for helping me to accomplish my educational goals. Without your support, my journey with school would have been much more difficult and may not have happened so quickly, and likely would have been far more stressful. Receiving this award makes me feel like all the hard work has been worthwhile and encourages me to continue to do my best. Thank you again.

Sincerely,

2020 Student Recipient

*****

Dear Ms. Austin,

Thank you for this generous award. I was extremely surprised and grateful to be chosen as a recipient of this award. The funds will go towards my tuition for the Bachelor of Business Administration - General Management program at NIC.

I am entering into my second year at NIC. I started right after graduating from Isfeld Secondary in 2019. I enjoyed my management classes, learning how to work with a diverse team.

I began working when I was 16. I've worked at Tim Hortons, Mt. Washington, Quality Foods and now Costco. During this time, I have learned how to balance homework with my work schedule and family commitments. I'm continuing to live at home; however, I’m trying to become more independent with my finances. My education in business will help me achieve my goals in learning about investing and the world of business.

Thank you again for this award. I appreciate the financial support and encouragement to continue following my studies. I am extremely grateful.

Sincerely,

2020 Student Recipient

*****

Dear Ms. Austin,

I am very grateful and give many thanks to you for providing this award. Your support will help tremendously in my upcoming school year, especially with the uncertain time we live in now of COVID-19.

I am really excited to start and finish the five courses I have left to obtain my Business Administration degree. One is a computer course, which will be very interesting because I find computers to be a bit of a challenge but I'm excited to learn. I would like to find a job after graduating with either Island Health or with the Town of Comox.

When I graduate it will be one of my biggest accomplishments. Both of my parents never went to college and I am so proud to overcome this norm within our family.

Thank you so very much for this award! Words can't express enough how grateful I am. I am excited to be a better role model for my daughter and show her anything is possible.

Sincerely,

2020 Student Recipient