How do high school students learn about Earn to Learn? Along with Earn to Learn staff outreach efforts, a network of current savers and their families, teachers, and advisers, online information and community partners are helping spread the word. Unique partnerships in the community allow for a much louder and clearer message. Together with the Metropolitan Education Commission, Earn to Learn tells students in Tucson and Pima County: Yes, with this opportunity, you can go to college. These efforts are replicated in the Central and Northern regions with other organizations that support college access.

The Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC) is comprised of 34 Citizen Commissioners who advise, make recommendations,  and serve as advocates in matters that affect the educational welfare of Tucson and Pima County. The idea was conceived 25 years ago by Dr. June Webb-Vignery, and the commission has since grown in employees and impact.

David Rodriguez has been working with the MEC since 2011 and discovered Earn to Learn at a Tucson High college application workshop. Like many of the students who hear about the scholarship, David thought it might be too good to be true. It wasn’t until he sat down with Flor and Andrew in the Southern Arizona office and reviewed the details that he knew that this was going to change things for a lot of high school students, especially those who don’t qualify for some scholarships but still need assistance to make college a reality.

“Once accepted, Earn to Learn changes a high school student’s whole outlook on things. It is the moment they realize they are going to college,” says Rodriguez.

This is true for two Earn to Learn savers: Anaid Torres and Aylin Burgos. Anaid graduated from Pueblo Magnet High School this year and is now studying at Northern Arizona University with the Earn to Learn scholarship. She served as a MEC student ambassador and helped her fellow high schoolers complete college applications and the application for federal student aid. Aylin Burgos is now a junior at the University of Arizona. Before applying for college, she worried that her GPA would inhibit her access to scholarships. With Earn to Learn, she started college and improved her GPA while working on campus. “She later became an unofficial ambassador and helped a whole group of her friends by referring them to my office for help. At least 10 of her classmates owe their scholarships to Aylin’s intervention,” Rodriguez shared. MEC student ambassadors support and amplify the efforts that schools make to increase access to higher education. In 2017, 27 student ambassadors assisted their classmates across 12 high schools in Pima County. Each year many of these schools have experienced significant increases in the amount of financial aid their students receive to attend college.

David is elated to be connected to two unique and impactful organizations. “The MEC is the only place in the country that achieves far-reaching impact through unique partnerships that bring together businesses, community college and university partners, school districts, and the community once a month to discuss issues relevant to education. Earn to Learn is also unique in how it reduces the barriers to education through financial literacy and saving for college. This partnership is about promoting a great product that makes college possible for students locally and throughout Arizona.”

He believes that a key element of promoting college access is having the right people who genuinely believe in the success of the students they support. “Earn to Learn is an organization run by good people, and this is very important when you’re talking about college access,” says Rodriguez. Luckily the feeling is mutual, and Earn to Learn thanks all of the good people at the Metropolitan Education Commission for their commitment to education and college access!

To learn more about the MEC and their programs or to get involved by becoming a student ambassador at your school or joining the Youth Advisory Council/Tucson Teen Congress, visit their website:

Posted on: June 21, 2017