APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
The intent of this program is to remove one of the most significant challenges single parent veterans face in pursuing an education and to encourage these veterans to pursue/earn at a minimum, a bachelor's degree. The program will take a micro-finance approach, requiring loan payback to ensure long term solvency and sustainability. The payback would be structured to avoid being unduly burdensome on new graduates who may have also taken on a significant debt loan to pay for their education, to include deferred repayment based on approved, in kind volunteer work in related to women and/or veterans' programs.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Using funds raised through donations, grants, and other mechanisms, AWV will receive loan applications citing the applicant's proof of military service, circumstances, academic plan, and a cost estimate for the child care expenses per semester. Applicants will apply for a semester of funding at a time, and must adhere to academic stipulations (maintaining a 'C' or above in each class, and a four-year degree plan at an accredited university) in order to receive a loan for the following semester.
The child care loans will be part of AWV's larger, comprehensive education initiative. Following completion of their degree program, AWV will continue to work with the graduate as they transition to AWV's professional mentorship program, which will provide resume-writing, job-searching, financial planning etc., and will leverage public and private sector resources to ensure that the graduate is set up for success.
In order to facilitate this commitment, AWV aims to enroll 15 single parent veterans in school full time by fall semester 2012. By Spring 2012, AWV aims to have 30 students having complete their degree programs.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the fastest growing demographic of homeless veterans in the United States is women with children. While the Post-9/11 GI Bill greatly improved financial support granted to veterans by paying/supplementing tuition costs, providing a monthly housing allowance and an annual book stipend, one significant barrier for single parent veteran's education remains: childcare costs. Veterans must often obtain daycare for younger children in order to attend classes and complete assignments. This precludes one of our country's most at risk populations from working to improve their situations and circumstances. Additionally, these women are less competitive for career advancement without secondary and post-secondary educations. AWV will solicit and raise funds to initiate and maintain a program to provide childcare loans for single parent veterans pursing higher education.
SEEKING: Financial Resources, Implementing Partners
AWV would like to expedite the launch of its childcare lending program by partnering with a licensed consumer finance lender or bank to originate its loans. Such an arrangement would result in more efficient use of funds because it would allow AWV to allow on the compliance and underwriting expertise of an experienced lender while AWV invests its resources into non-duplicative activities, such as studying single parent veteran students and their needs and measuring borrower outcomes