Earn to Learn Florida (ETLF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower income-challenged students to complete college, announced that Ashley Gastel has been named Chief Program Officer.

Earn to Learn FL is a revolutionary “savings to financial assistance” program utilizing matched savings, personal finance training, and success coaching. Earn to Learn FL‘s goal is for students to graduate on time, student debt-free, and career-ready. Seed funds from a federal grant launched Earn to Learn FL. The initiative has grown from an initial $100,000 grant to more than $1 million invested in educational attainment for hard-working but income-challenged students. The organization is prepared to grow to a $2.3M budget in the next three years as it expands throughout Florida.

“ETLFL began in Southwest Florida. We have already expanded to the central west part of the state and have the framework to expand state-wide,” said Brenda Tate, founder, and CEO of Earn to Learn FL. “Ashley’s experience and enterprising spirit make her the perfect choice to expand our staff and programming.”

“I am excited to work building our capacity to improve student outcomes,” said Gastel. “Every student should have the opportunity to earn a postsecondary degree or credential regardless of the obstacles. I can’t wait to create partnerships and programming that meet our students where they are in their journey. We can change countless lives through education. My team and I will work to implement innovations that help students get on a path to a degree or certification and stay on that path until graduation.”

Gastel most recently worked as Associate Director of Take Stock in College, a nonprofit organization that assists students in Florida in preventing drop-out. Take Stock in College’s mission is to ensure low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students attain a postsecondary degree or credential. Before working at Take Stock, she worked for the School District of Osceola County, creating the strategic plan to grow the county’s career dual enrollment programming at their technical college.

Gastel earned her Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Administration at The University of Central Florida, Orlando.   She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Education from Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Earn to Learn FL empowers low-to-moderate income students in Florida to earn college degrees and professional certifications with little or no debt through matched savings, personalized financial capability training, and success coaching. In addition, eligible students who establish a habit of saving for higher education can receive matching funds for financial assistance provided by Earn to Learn FL supporters committed to enhancing workforce development and the economic well-being of Florida communities. For more information, please visit EarntoLearnFL.org or email Brenda Tate at Brenda@EarntoLearnFL.org.

About Earn to Learn FL

Earn to Learn FL (ETLFL), formed in 2011, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to empower income-challenged students to complete college.

ETLFL has developed based on three core tenets:

  1. Matched Savings for Education: Students and their families who income-qualify can deposit up to $500 into an ETLFL savings account each year. Their savings are then matched 8:1 by ETLFL. This brings the combined available funds for financial assistance paid directly to an academic institution up to $4,500 per academic year. The funds are used for tuition, books, fees, and other approved educational-related expenses.
  2. Near Peer Coaching for Postsecondary Success: ETLFL trains and deploys AmeriCorps members to coach income-challenged students in postsecondary access, personal finance training, and career planning. Coaches support student preparation and success strategies to pursue higher education successfully.
  3. Personal Finance Training: ETLFL provides a dynamic online personal finance training program to produce measurable and meaningful outcomes for students and coaches.