“I am proud to be a part of the Matched Savings Scholarship. It’s a great program that not only gives me a chance to start learning how to save money but also helps have a plan to pay off any loans after I graduate.”
The Formula for SuccessMS2 is not a loan. It is an income and need-based financial aid program. MS2 is renewable for up to four years depending on on-going funding as long as students reapply and remain eligible.
What is MS2?
The Matched Savings Scholarship, or MS2, is an innovative, privately funded, need-based financial aid program that pairs resources with eligible students pursuing a college education at one of Washington’s leading independent colleges and universities. MS2 makes college more affordable by matching student savings at a 6:1 ratio, giving students a total of $3,500 to use for tuition or approved educational expenses per enrollment year!
MS2 teaches and rewards a healthy habit of savings.
The MS2 program allows income-eligible students to enroll in college and graduate with, if not lower loan debt, lower financial stress and more time to focus on academics. By doing so, MS2 increases access for Washington’s low-income students. This allows them to acquire a lifetime asset and change the trajectory of not only their lives, but their families’ for generations to come.
MS2 is a managed and administered by Independent Colleges of Washington.
Through funding from Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW), MS2 is available to eligible students attending or planning to attend the following participating ICW member colleges*:
Pacific Lutheran University
Saint Martin’s University
Seattle Pacific University
*All other ICW member colleges are eligible to participate if interested. Other ICW member colleges include: Gonzaga University, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound, Walla Walla University, Whitman College, and Whitworth University.
Create a Savings Plan Agreement (we help you!)
Once you are enrolled:
Complete 4 hours of financial education courses and a Personal Development Plan
Make deposits from earned income, based on your customized Savings Plan
Use your funds to pay for college
The goal is to have students enrolled and graduated from MS2 within a 12-month period and if funding is available, repeat the process for a maximum four-year period. A student enrolled in MS2 for four years has the opportunity to access a total of $14,000 in savings and match for college! To re-enroll, students must qualify and re-apply each enrollment year.
- Is this for real?
- ICW Matched Savings Program is modeled after of a nationwide asset-building strategy previously funded by federal and institutional resources. The 1998 Assets for Independence Act funded IDAs nationwide, but the federal program was eliminated in May 2017. ICW’s program is wholly funded through private grants every year.
- If I’m considering more than one participating school, do I submit just one application?
- Once you are determined eligible for ICW Matched Savings Program, you must check with the institutions you are interested in to see if they have availability.
- Is ICW Matched Savings Program good through my 4 years of college?
- You must reapply and qualify each year you wish to enroll in ICW Matched Savings Program. Note that reenrollment also depends on continued funding availability, which could vary.
- What if I’m unemployed, but know I will find a job soon?
- You may still submit an application, though you will not be eligible until you can show us proof of income. If you were just hired, a letter from your employer that includes the following information will suffice: date of hire, average hours per week, rate and frequency of pay.
- What if I earn income from odd jobs, such as babysitting or mowing lawns during the summer? Does that count as earned income?
- Yes! All we need from you is a signed statement that includes the following information: the nature and frequency of work, and the rate and frequency of pay.
- How does the match work?
- For every $1 of personal savings, participants accrue $6 through ICW Matched Savings Program
- How much money can I deposit in my savings account?
- Participants may deposit up to $500 per enrollment year. The frequency and amount of deposits will vary by participant, and will be outlined in the participant’s personalized Savings Plan Agreement. You get to choose the deposit frequency and amount that fits into your budget.
- Do I have to deposit the same amount each month?
- No, you are not required to deposit the same amount each month. However, you must show 6 months of consistent savings before drawing any matched funds.
- How can ICW Matched Savings Program funds be used?
- Your savings and match may only be used for tuition and approved educational related expenses, and are paid to your participating ICW member college. In most cases, funds are applied to your student financial aid account.
- Do I have to pay taxes on my savings account?
- You may need to report interest you earn from your savings. Keep in mind that the financial institution will report the interest you earned. The matched earned is processed as a scholarship and is not taxable.
- How does ICW Matched Savings Program impact my financial aid?
- Everyone’s financial aid award is different and so it is important that you talk to your financial aid officer if you have any questions. If it does impact your financial aid, it is likely to lower the amount of loans that you would receive, but will not reduce your Pell Grant or other entitlement grants. Please talk to your financial aid officer for more information about your individual case.
- If my income goes up, will I be disqualified from the program?
- If your income goes up after you’ve already enrolled in the program, you will not be disqualified. However, if you reapply to participate in ICW Matched Savings Program for an additional year, and this income increase places you over eligibility limits, this will affect your participation.
- So, who really controls the money I deposit?
- You do. ICW Matched Savings Program cannot refuse to sign a withdrawal request. However, ICW Matched Savings Program does decide if your withdrawal is unauthorized, an official emergency withdrawal, or a withdrawal for your savings goal. ICW Matched Savings Program’s decision will affect whether you can receive match funds.
- Do I have to go to a designated financial institution to do my banking with ICW Matched Savings Program?
- To be eligible for matching funds, you must open your ICW Matched Savings account with Beneficial State Bank. Conveniently, this account will be primarily managed online. You will also have the option of making deposits at designated ATMs.
- How does the money get withdrawn?
- Once you have reached your savings goal ($500), your college will communicate with ICW Matched Savings Program to access your savings and earned match funds and apply them towards your student account.
*Scholarship match amount must be used for tuition, fees, books, supplies, and other educational expenses. Room and board do not qualify under the scholarship definition of the Internal Revenue Code Section 117.
For more information about this program, please contact Kris Gonzales:
Kris@ICWashington.org or (206)623-4494.