Fast Tracking the Dream to College Completion

Individual Development Account (IDA)

The Fast Tracking the Dream program is a community partnership that seeks to minimize or remove the financial barrier for obtaining a college education. The focus of the program is to improve access to a college education for low to moderate income individuals and to enhance the financial literacy of participants in the program. Earned income that is deposited into a special savings account with an approved financial institution is tripled to pay for tuition, books, fees, and course required materials at Mesa Community College (MCC).

Qualifications

The Center for Community & Civic Engagement office has checklists available in the office to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements to enroll in the program.

 

One of the qualifications on the checklist is that you:

  •  Have a job (or work study job)
  • Are an active AmeriCorps member

 

Another qualification is proof of income. When you deposit money monthly in an IDA for a minimum of six months and are enrolled in classes at MCC, the program will match your savings 3:1 up to $1000. For example, if you save the maximum matched savings amount of $1000, they will match you at $3000, so you will have a total of $4000 in the account to use for “asset purchase” requests.

  •  IDA Account: Must be at specific bank branch designated by A New Leaf
  • Deposit Length:  Minimum of 6 months
  • Program Match:  Match savings 3:1 up to $1000

 

Enrolling in the Program

Students enrolled in the program that

  • Have jobs must deposit a minimum of $25 consecutively for 6 months
  • Are active AmeriCorps members must deposit a minimum of $10 consecutively for 6 months

Students must meet with a Case Manager at A New Leaf to go over their completed applications and see if they meet the program qualifications. In addition, there is a mandatory “Free Financial Literacy Course” offered through A New Leaf that Fast Tracking the Dream members complete. 

These are the steps for becoming involved with Fast Track:

  1. Speak with a representative from MCC’s Center for Community & Civic Engagement to see if you qualify.
  2. If approved, meet with a case manager from A New Leaf to formally enroll
  3. Open a special Individual Development Savings (IDA) account with an approve bank
  4. Deposit money monthly in your IDA savings account for college over a minimum of six months
  5. Complete a free financial literacy course
  6. Enroll in MCC classes
  7. Inform your case manager at A New Leaf that you are ready to make an “asset” purchase   i.e.: classes, books, and supplies for MCC. *(Study abroad excursion  fees, and required course supplies as identified in class syllabus are also approved expenditures. However, airline tickets, hotel stays, and living expenses are not covered.)

Funding & Assets

The money must be used to make an “asset purchase” and pay for your classes, books, and supplies for Mesa Community College.

Students are encouraged to continue making monthly deposits until they reach their savings goal, even after requesting an asset purchase. Save and spend until you’ve exhausted all available funds for the program, or graduate. At this time MesaCan will close the student's bank account and return the remaining balance to the student's savings only. If the matching funds are not spent at MCC, they will return to MesaCan. Students may not apply funds to student loans or use them at any other school.

* Making an asset purchase with your Fast Tracking award may hurt your need for Financial Aid assistance. Make sure to contact Financial Aid to verify your award status and if the award amount will change by making an asset purchase with the Fast Tracking the Dream the program.

Forms

Click the blue button below to access our Forms Page.  Under Student Forms, you will find the:

  • IDA Application
  • Qualification Checklist
  • Brochure

Access the IDA Application under Student Forms