Mohammed “Uzair” Ahmed: Matched Savings Participant and Now College Grad!
Mohammed “Uzair” Ahmed is first generation, and in June 2014 became the first in his family to graduate college. Five years earlier he participated in a special Community Capital program to assist low income students with matched savings to cover educational expenses not included in financial aid. As a Yonkers High School student, Uzair saved $500 and received an 8:1 match, $4000, which he used to buy a laptop and books when he enrolled in the biomedical engineering program at the City College of New York. He’s now working fulltime in the Research and Development department of health care company Siemens, in Tarrytown.
How did Community Capital New York’s Independent Development Account (IDA) help?
It made the world of difference. I saved $500 and received the maximum match of eight to one, $4000, which I used to buy a laptop and books for the first year and half of college. The laptop and engineering software I needed for the biomedical program was expensive. It came to $3300. I would never have managed the cost.
How did it help in the short term?
I was able to start college and didn’t have to defer until I could save for a laptop.
How did the matched savings program help in the long term?
It taught me to save. Six months after getting a job, I’m starting to set something from each paycheck aside.
I plan to continue to work hard, save and feel fortunate not to have come out of college with heavy debt thanks to scholarships from City College and Community Capital New York’s college savings program.