Senior citizens sign up to give back for tuition

By Denise Dick


Six senior citizens are volunteering – with five more in the pipeline – and earning free college tuition for their time.

Give Back, Go Forward is a pilot program in the Mahoning Valley with plans to extend it across Ohio.

Individuals who are at least 60 and volunteer at least 100 hours per year at United Way Success By Six, United Way Success After Six or Inspiring Minds will earn a three-credit tuition waiver at either Youngstown State University or Eastern Gateway Community College.

“For a first year program, we’d love to say we have 100 new volunteers who’ve not done this before, but I think we’re pleased with this getting off the ground,” said Jeff Robinson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

The agencies and schools still are disseminating information and getting inquiries about the program, he said.

“It is nice to hear that not only do we have volunteers who are actively working, but there are others out there who are interested,” Robinson said.

The six seniors actively volunteering are working with the United Way as Inspiring Minds finalizes its volunteer program, he said.

Give Back, Go Forward is a collaboration among YSU, EGCC, the Ohio Department of Aging, Mature Services, the Ohio Department of Higher Education and Gov. John Kasich’s office.

The volunteers can use the tuition credit for themselves, can give it to a student or save it for a future student, but each waiver must be used within five years. A student cannot use more than two waivers per academic year.

Inspiring Minds offers summer and after-school program for Youngstown and Warren City school students.

Success By Six and Success After Six are both initiatives of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

Success by Six prepares students who are entering school while Success After Six, a pilot program at Youngstown Community School, provides tutoring, supplemental programming and after-school support for kindergarten through third-grade students. It focuses on academics, health and social services and social and emotional development.