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Palm Coast Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 5 months ago

Archways to Opportunity: How two students are getting help from McDonald’s for college

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The McDonald's employees are able to receive $700 per calendar year for tuition, as long as they meet certain requirements.
by: Paige Wilson Community Editor

For Victor Marcano, $700 was almost the sum he had left after financial aid to pay his tuition at Daytona State College.

The Flagler Beach resident currently juggles five classes at DSC while working about 30-35 hours per week at the McDonald’s located at 6030 E. Highway 100, Flagler Beach, which is owned and operated by Sugie Riley.

“It’s a great help — it really is,” Victor Marcano said about Archways to Opportunity. “I’m really grateful.” Photo by Paige Wilson

Marcano said he’s grateful that McDonald’s is offering a program called Archways to Opportunity to financially assist employees who are trying to further their studies.

“I didn’t have enough money to continue my education, so this was a really big help,” Marcano, 19, said. “It really helped me pay off any debt I had for college.”

Each year, Marcano and other employees who work an average of 20 hours a week are eligible after 90 days of employment to apply for a $700 education assistance benefit.

Fewer than three weeks after Marcano applied for the grant during his first semester at DSC in the fall of 2017, he was awarded the $700.

“It’s a great help — it really is,” he said. “I’m really grateful.”

Since the launch of Archways to Opportunity in April 2015, McDonald’s has awarded $14 million in high school and college tuition assistance nationwide.

While Marcano is working to apply for his second grant due to the start of the new calendar year, Ormond Beach resident Roy Taylor is excited to start the application process for his first grant.

“I’m going to feel a little bit of financial relief,” Roy Taylor said about his anticipated $700 grant. Photo by Paige Wilson

Taylor has worked at the business located at 1530 US Highway 1, Ormond Beach, for one year. Sugie Riley also owns and operates this location.

McDonald’s requires employees to submit a course schedule and tuition bill, and also to have been employed by the business for at least 90 days and work an average of 20 hours per week.

“I’m going to feel a little bit of financial relief,” Taylor said about his anticipated grant.

Both Taylor and Marcano are paying for college out of their own pockets. Cindy Lott, McDonald’s orientation/LSM coordinator, said she’s thrilled to help the two continue their college careers.

Lott emphasized that McDonald’s is known for being a good first job, as the company teaches leadership and the importance of hard work, so employees are motivated to strive for success.

She said that while Marcano and Taylor are the first two employees in the local, three-store franchise to participate in the program, others are starting to get on board.

“Just getting these two started and talking about it, now they’re motivated and talking about it (to others), so I have a couple more (employees) who have already approached me in the last week,” she said.

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