Columbus City Council is rolling out a program to help lower-income students afford trade school or college tuition with less debt.
Under the "Earn to Learn" program, 20 recent graduates will be able to receive an 8-to-1 match on up to $500 they save for post-secondary education.
"That’s $4,500, which is a significant amount of money," says Council member Elizabeth Brown. "It would pay for one year at Columbus State."
The program is modeled on a similar initiative that began in Arizona in 2013. So far more than 2,000 students have used the program to attend college.
To fund the pilot program, the city and CME Federal Credit Union are providing $20,000 each to match a $40,000 federal contribution.
“This money can be applied towards any additional educational opportunities,” Brown says, “and we particularly call out that $4,500 amount at Columbus State because it happens to correspond with a year’s tuition there.”
Eligibility is limited to people at 200% of the federal poverty line or below. Organizers will select among participants in a city program called APPS, or applications for purpose pride and success, for the first round of students.