Ashley Gastel, chief program officer, Earn to Learn FL

Earn to Learn FL (ETLFL), a 501(c)3 nonprofit that envisions a world without barriers to higher education, announces a partnership with the Southern Scholarship Foundation (SSF) for the 2022-2023 school year. Through the partnership, 150 first-year college students across 26 SSF homes throughout Florida will head to school with SSF scholarships and have access to ETLFL Near Peer Coaches; many will have ETLFL tuition scholarships as well.

ETLFL Near Peer coaches are current college students who promote college success by supporting students and working through obstacles related to retention and degree completion. “The goal of the partnership is that every student that moves in to SSF housing ends their college journey by walking across the stage at graduation,” said Ashley Gastel, chief program officer, Earn to Learn FL. “Earn to Learn FL will be partners in their college journey from start to finish.”

“The new partnership will provide up to sixty students with up to four years of tuition assistance, rent-free housing, and Near Peer Coaching,” said Shawn J. Woodin, Ed. D., president and CEO of Southern Scholarship Foundation. “It also provides the opportunity for SSF residents who are currently in college to become ETLFL Near Peer Coaches and earn a living allowance and scholarship. That is the power of partnership!”

Earn to Learn FL, in partnership with Volunteer Florida, recruits, trains, and deploys AmeriCorps members to provide Near Peer Coaching to economically disadvantaged students in the areas of postsecondary access, personal finance training, and career planning. Near Peer Coaches supports student preparation for pursuit of a non-degree award (career & technical education), associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. In addition, the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Scholarship, up to $6,195 per year, is granted to AmeriCorps members who complete their term of service to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education for educational training or to repay eligible students loans.

Through rent-free housing and cooperative living, Southern Scholarship Foundation supports students who lack financial resources, demonstrate excellent academic merit, and exemplify good character attend institutions of higher education. For more than 65 years, SSF has helped students achieve their dreams of attending their choice university through partnerships at Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Florida, Santa Fe College, Florida State University, Flagler College – Tallahassee, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College.

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