COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus City Council hopes to make it easier for teens and young adults to afford college.
According to a press release, the city council is starting an “Earn to Learn” program, a scholarship program that aims to help teens working in the Columbus Recreation and Parks APPS program prepare for college by providing $4,000 in matching funding to those whoo save $500 of their earnings.
“If you’re a young person in Columbus who wants a post-secondary education, you should never be deterred from your goals due to a fear of debt,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “This pilot with our APPS youth will empower them to reach their goals. That’s a win for them and a win for us.”
The program will offer an individual development account with an 8 to 1 match for post secondary education expenses after an applicant spends six months in the APPS work program.
It is based on a national model designed to make an investment in the lives of teens and young adults who experience financial barriers to post-secondary training.
The 20 participants from the APPS program who receive matching funds for school will also receive financial education to help them develop good savings habits for the future.
“It costs more to earn a degree in Ohio than almost anywhere else in America,” said Council President Shannon Hardin. “We’ve got to look at every tool available to this community to ensure our residents, particularly young folks, have the opportunity to learn new skills and thrive in Columbus’ middle class.”
Participants can receive matching funds for every dollar up to $500 that they save from their paychecks. To be eligible, they must have a net worth less than $10,000 and meet federal poverty level guidelines. They are also required to participate in 10 sessions of financial education and attend an orientation session at their school of choice.
CME Federal Credit Union has agreed to host the participants’ savings accounts and provide 25 percent of the matching funds, up to $20,000. Columbus City Council will provide another 25 percent of the funding, also up to $20,000. Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will make up the rest, for a total investment of $80,000 in the program, excluding the participants’ contributions.