Megan Bagola Finds More Than Tuition as She Saves for a College Education

Megan Bagola travelled Tribal Ventures’ Community and Capacity Development Path by participating in a matched savings program administered by our partner, Four Bands Community Fund. To fund her savings account, Megan completed an internship program also administered by Four Bands.

Reflecting on her participation in the Four Bands Youth Entrepreneur Internship Program during her Senior year, Megan says, “If I had not done the internship, I wouldn’t be as lucky as I am right now. I am really grateful for all the experience I gained. It changed my perception of myself. I didn’t think I would get scholarships, but I did.”

As a 2011 participant in the program, Megan was able to save $1,000 toward her college tuition. Megan worked 100 hours as an office assistant at Cheyenne Eagle Butte High School, the high school she attended and graduated from, and was paid $10/hour. She deposited half of her earnings into a specialized savings account, called an Individual Development Account (IDA), where she received a $1 match for every dollar she deposited. Also as part of the program, Megan completed personal finance training, customer service training, and post-secondary education training.

Megan’s success in the program helped her understand the importance of saving for her college education, and she enrolled in an additional matched savings program. Through her participation in this program, Megan deposited $1,200 into her IDA, received $3,600 in match dollars from Four Bands, and was able to use a total of $4,800 for college expenses.

Megan also built on her knowledge of managing and saving money. She says, “I learned how to set goals and plan to make them achievable – like breaking your dollar goal into smaller savings deposits to make it manageable to save.”

Maybe more importantly, Megan took away life skills that will continue to support her success through college and beyond. “The most important thing I learned while saving is responsibility – being responsible enough to actually save my money, even though saving was really hard, especially with family that also needs your help.”

Megan’s hard work and determination paid off. Her experiences gave her the confidence and resources necessary to realize her dream of attending college. Megan is currently attending Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota where she is working on her degree in Biology. Her advice to others: “Even though it is hard to save money, it is very beneficial in the long run. You will get what you need.”