Hermiston High School has program to help kids afford college - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hermiston High School has program to help kids afford college

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HERMISTON, Ore. --   Qualifying Hermiston High School students can receive up to $8,000 toward college or university through the Matched Education Savings Account College Initiative, a program by CASA of Oregon.

Students receive the money as a match. For every $1.00 saved, the student will get a $5.00 match, up to the $8,000 limit. When dollars are saved over three years, it averages to less than $11.00 a week.

"People think its too good to be true, which it is very good but its not too good to be true," says the High School Project College Bound Coordinator Liz Marvin.

Research shows that students with a college savings are four times more likely to go to college. Matched Education Savings Account supports a student's future educational goal and helps close the gap to college affordability through college and career planning, financial education, and reinforcing positive savings behavior by matching the child's savings in his/her special account. The matching funds can be applied to tuition, books, fees or supplies at a community college, college or university. MESA is not a loan; thus, the scholarship does not need to be paid back.

In the high school's third year as a MESA school, Hermiston High School is able to accept 17 NEW students into the program.

They must meet the qualifications to enter into the program and continue to follow the guidelines to remain in the program. Eligibility is partially determined by the student's earned household income. Students in households receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), or with an income at or below the 2010 limit for your household size (as outlined in the table below) are probably eligible to receive the matching dollars.

Additional eligibility requirements include: resident of Oregon, save for a minimum of six months, up to 36 months, be able to save at least $25 each month.  They must also complete  a no-cost financial education course

Household Size  Adjusted Gross Income Limit 
1  $21,660 
2  $29,140 
3  $36,620 
4  $44,100 
5  $51,580 
6  $59,060 
7  $66,540 
8  $74,020 

Hermiston High School students achieve the final requirement by meeting every Wednesday with Project College Bound Coordinator Liz Marvin in the College Savings Group.

Matched Education Savings Account College Initiative Program combines goal-setting, monthly savings, and financial education to assist students in achieving their college dreams. It is a collaboration of schools, foundation, and non-profits working together to assist students pursuing post-secondary education. The initiative is supported by funding from federal, state, and private resources.

Marvin says 85% percent of their students indicate they want to go on to college but only 44% go on to do so.

There will be a meeting about this program at the Hermiston High School library on November 17th at 6pm.
For more information contact Liz Marvin at 541-667-6412.