Arizona universities help launch scholarship program for high school students
Mylo Erickson / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Michael Staten, director of the Take Charge America Institute and UA assistant dean of careers, commerce and industry, brought together project members at the UA to help launch the AZ Earn to Learn program.
A partnership between three Arizona universities has helped launch a program to raise scholarship money for hundreds of high school students.
The UA, along with Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, recently partnered with the Arizona-based non-profit organization Live the Solution in order to launch the AZ Earn to Learn program, which helps more than 700 students earn scholarship money from a fund of $3.1 million by fulfilling certain program requirements.
“It’s the first time all the state universities have received federal education IDA [Individual Development Account] grants at the same time and are partnering to create a program like this,” said Michael Staten, director of the Take Charge America Institute and UA assistant dean of careers, commerce and industry.
Staten said his role in the program was to bring together the project members here at the UA.
Funding for this program comes from the Federal Assets for Independence program, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The rest of the funding came from the three four-year universities in Arizona, who all matched dollar-for-dollar with AFI in order to provide the means for the program.
Another important component for the success of this program is the non-profit organization Live the Solution. The organization is in charge of administering the Individual Development Account part of the program, the individual bank accounts the students will need to open for the program.
“It’s an amazing program,” said Geraldine Aramburo, the Live the Solution program coordinator for the UA. “I just wish more people would learn about it and enroll in the program.”
Kate Hoffman, director of Live the Solution, emphasized the fact that current college students may not apply for the program, as it is specifically geared towards high school juniors and seniors who are looking to attend one of the state universities after graduation.
Staten said to be eligible for the AZ Earn to Learn program, students’ families must earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and that participants must acquire an IDA in which they save at least $25 a month for a minimum of six months after beginning the program. They must also finish financial education classes, along with attending one-on-one financial coaching sessions and college readiness training.
After completing these requirements, the students’ savings are matched 8:1 by the funds provided by AZ Earn to Learn, so that for every dollar earned, the student receives eight dollars, resulting in $4,000 of scholarship money after $500 savings.
“It’s a great opportunity for potential students for the U of A,” Staten said.