$180,000 for Montana GEAR UP Matched Educational Savings Accounts
Montana GEAR UP is thrilled to announce that the Montana Credit Unions for Community Development was just awarded a $180,000 Assets For Independence grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Grant for the benefit of Montana GEAR UP and Montana Tech students. This grant will be used to fund Matched Educational Savings Accounts (MESA). The $180,000 in federal funds will be matched by an additional $100,000 from NeighborWorks Montana, $50,000 from the Student Assistance Foundation, and $30,000 from Montana GEAR UP.
Students who are selected for the program will be required to make monthly deposits of $25 which will be matched at a rate of 5:1. The goal is for participating students to save $500 towards college, with a match of $2,500 for a total college savings fund of $3,000. In order to qualify for the MESA program, students and families must meet income requirements of being below twice the federal poverty line – or 200 percent of poverty, along with having less than $10,000 in assets (excluding home & one vehicle). Students who meet the asset and income requirements will be encouraged by their GEAR UP coordinator to enroll in the MESA program during their junior or senior year of high school. Additionally, students will be required to complete at least 10 hours of financial literacy training.
Students from low-income families who have savings accounts are more likely to attend and complete college. Personal savings have two main effects on educational attainment: 1) students with savings accounts are better able to afford necessary items like books and other incurred expenses, and 2) students who expect to graduate from a four-year college and have a savings account are about seven times more likely to attend college than students without an account.[i]
This year’s juniors will be the first class invited to take part in the MESA program. Montana GEAR UP will be working with participating schools in the recruitment of qualifying students to take part in this program.
- Andrea Rankin submitted this to gearupworks