Success Stories

From CFA Scholar to Homeowner: Financial Education in Action

Financial education can transform lives. Read on to see how a college student made homeownership a reality for her family.


When O’Shaela P, a senior business administration major at North Carolina Central University, got involved with the Center for Financial Advancement (CFA), not only did she gain a wealth of knowledge but she changed the trajectory of her family’s finances.

“My mom wanted to become a first time home owner but she didn't know how to go about it,” O’Shaela says. “So I thought, ‘We have to educate ourselves.’”

Luckily, O’Shaela knew just where to look. Since her school was a partner with CFA, the first financial and homeownership empowerment movement at select Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), O’Shaela had a resource that would provide the education she and her mother so desperately needed.

Through CFA, O’Shaela learned:

  • The importance of credit
  • How to implement sound financial habits
  • What lenders were looking for in potential homebuyers

She shared all of that information with her mother and they took steps to get their financial houses in order. They also sought the guidance of HomeFree-USA to walk them through the homebuying process.

One of the biggest challenges was getting through all of the paperwork. “What I really loved about using HomeFree USA is that we were given an advisor,” O’Shaela says. “If I didn't understand or if I was unsure about something, we could shoot him a text message or we could give him a phone call and he would get right back to us with answers.” Having the advisor made all the difference. “I think sometimes we are scared to ask questions, but if we don't ask questions we don't get that knowledge.”

Eventually her mother decided on a house in Clayton, N.C., not far from other family members.

For O’Shaela, the experience reinforced her belief that homeownership is critical to building wealth and passing it down to future generations. “For minorities, it is critical that we own some type of asset,” she says. “And now my mom is able to leave a legacy.”

But that’s not all that O’Shaela discovered through CFA. “Being a CFA Scholar means you learn about more than just homeownership,” she says.  “I learned about financial literacy and thought about where I hope to see myself financially in the coming years. Being a CFA Scholar made me set goals and opened my mind to different opportunities for myself.”

One of those future goals is to use real estate as a means to accumulate wealth. “This homebuying experience will be the first of many for myself,” she says.