In the past four months, Madison Guy has helped secure $121,800 in scholarship money.
Not for herself, of course, but for GrantMe members.
She does this as part of her new business, as the CEO and founder of GrantMe.
The business helps students access available scholarship money, bursaries and grants, much of which people may not even know is accessible.
The 22-year-old can relate to what many of these students are going through.
“I struggled through my first two years at UBC because it was really expensive,” she said.
Guy, who graduated from Brookswood Secondary in 2012, was attending UBC on a soccer scholarship.
While that money paid for her tuition, there was still housing, food and everything else associated with being a university student away from home. And with soccer such a time commitment, a part-time job was not an option.
Guy began researching what was available in terms of scholarship money.
“What I found was there is tons of funding available but it is very difficult to navigate, super overwhelming,” she said. “I think a lot of students give up really quickly because it is very difficult to figure out.”
Guy stuck with it and managed to secure $50,000 for herself for her final three years of university.
Not surprisingly, her stress level decreased.
“With the financial burden removed, I could focus on my athletics and academics.”
In 2015, she helped the Thunderbirds capture the Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy as national champions, scoring the game’s opening goal in the Canadian final game.
In April, she graduated debt-free from UBC’s Sauder School of Business. Armed with her degree, the original plan was to enter the corporate world and get a 9-to-5 job.
But once her soccer season and eligibility were done in November, Guy found herself with a lot more free time without training to worry about. She began by speaking to the various UBC athletic teams and her audience was shocked at what they heard.
“There are millions of dollars that go unclaimed for Canadian students,” Guy explained.
“People were just blown away that there is funding sitting there that they could have accessed during their entire degree but they just didn’t know it existed.”
Guy realized there was a market for what she was offering and launched GrantMe.
Visits to other Lower Mainland post-secondary schools soon followed and this week she is scheduled to share what she knows at a Seattle school.
The way the business works is potential applicants go to her website and fill out the questionnaire.
Guy then takes that information and sifts through the potential scholarships, bursaries and grants, doing the leg work for the applicants.
“You can get overwhelmed with information,” she said, adding that while it is easy to find which are available, it is much more tedious to determine deadlines, eligibility and so forth.
If an applicant secures money, only then does Guy get paid, taking a percentage.
The next step is to begin speaking at high schools, targeting Grade 11 and 12 students.
“I think if I can get to high school students before they get to (post-secondary) and educate them on their different options and different scholarships that are available, I think there is a better chance they are going to come out of university debt-free,” she said.
As for her soccer future, Guy has put the game on hold.
“I still love playing and I imagine I will play again, but right now, with GrantMe, that is my No. 1 focus,” she said.
She is also hoping to bring on some help as right now, it is a one-person company with Guy working up to 12 to 14-hour work days.