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CLEVELAND (WJW) – There is now $1,000 per child up for grabs for educational, enrichment activities in Ohio as the state’s Afterschool Child Enrichment Program (ACE) expands.

“The idea behind creating this program is to help children sort of re-engage, to help with learning gaps. Activities like tutoring are included,” said Colleen Grady, senior program officer with the Ohio Department of Education.

Grady says a state law, which took effect in 2021, is now expanding the eligibility, with $125 million dollars in state funding paying for a variety of activities like tutoring, summer camps, and music lessons.

Traditional public, private, charter, and home-schooled students qualify if their families earn as much as 400% of the Federal Poverty level, which is up to $111,000 for a family of four.

The Ohio Dept of Education says additionally, some students will qualify for ACE accounts regardless of family income if they live in school districts that struggle with chronic absenteeism or low performance on standardized tests.

Grady says the numbers are alarming, as students in Ohio and the rest of the country, fell behind during the pandemic; with students learning remotely, or dealing with illness or death.

“Students just didn’t lose time in school, they lost social connections, they lost understanding, how to deal with other folks, problem-solving,” Grady said.

Over 25,000 Ohio students are currently enrolled in the ACE program, with room for additional 90-thousand students.

Nearly 1,000 approved vendors also offer services.

“We hear some wonderful stories from a parent saying their child was completely lost in mathematics and the tutoring really helped get him on track,” Grady said.

It’s empowering parents to make choices to help their children succeed.

The spaces are filling up fast!

The DEP has seen an uptick in applications on its website since the expansion was revealed last Friday, so the state is advising parents to sign up sooner than later.

To sign up, click here.