As the cost of higher education continues to mount across the country, a scholarship program in Arizona is gaining traction as a model for making college financially attainable to low-income students.
On Tuesday, Arizona Board of Regent's President Eileen Klein will present AZ Earn to Learn, a scholarship program for low-incomes students that the state's three public universities pioneered, to the U.S. Department of Treasure's Financial Literacy and Education Commission.
AZ Earn to Learn was launched in 2013. The program is designed to teach good savings habits to college freshmen and works somewhat like a savings account.
Klein said the program could be a model for other states, and become a new paradigm for financial aid.
"I think this is an exciting program because it creates a new way in which to get students engaged early in thinking about college, and saving for college and then really doing all the planning they need," she said.
Scholarship students are required to save $500 in an individual development account, participate in personal finance workshops, and college readiness trainings, and meet regularly with a financial coach. In return, they earn $8 for every $1 they saved, up to $4,000 in matching funds each year. Half of that is paid for by a federal grant, the other half by the university where they enroll.
Seventy students currently participate in AZ Earn to Learn statewide, but the Board of Regents said it expects the program to grow to 275 students in fall 2014.