Arizona universities launch need-based scholarship program

Northern Arizona University is taking part in an innovativeneed-based financial aid program that pairs $3.1 million in scholarships with more than 700 low-income students in Arizona.

Arizona’s three state universities are partnering with the Tucson-based non-profit organization Live the Solution to launch the AZ Earn to Learn scholarship program. Eligibility requires participation in a savings plan and completion of financial literacy and college readiness training.

AZ Earn to Learn is funded with $1.55 million from the Department of Health and Human Services under the auspices of the Assets for Independence Program provided to the three state universities, each of which also will provide matching funds.

NAU’s commitment is $300,000 with a federal match of $300,000, according to Erin Grisham, executive director of NAU’s Educational Support Services, which will oversee the program.

NAU will target new transfer students who have a high level of unmet financial need and students in NAU’s TRIO and other outreach programs.

“AZ Earn to Learn is a groundbreaking initiative that will provide critical need-based aid to students who otherwise might not have access to higher education,” said Rick Myers, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents. “I am extremely proud that our state universities are leading the nation in this unique program.”

Grisham said program services will include financial literacy workshops, college planning and mentoring to ensure participants have the skills necessary to be successful.

NAU hopes to distribute at least $500 per student, she said. If the savings goal is met and they participate in the program, then at the time of enrollment at NAU they are eligible for an additional $4,000.

Eligibility guidelines, program requirements and application are available online.