In less than three months, “Project Working Mom…and Dads, Too!”, a program designed to give working parents the opportunity to return to school and improve their lives and the lives of their families, has received more than 246,000 applications for a full-ride online college scholarship. Nearly 3,000 people apply each day sharing their stories of challenge and hope amid the economic turmoil, and the role they believe education can play in their survival. “Project Working Mom…and Dads, Too!” which launched on January 8, 2009, will award approximately 60 full-ride scholarships, totaling more than $2 million, to qualified candidates with compelling essays. Ashford University, Capella University, Everest University, Virginia College and Ashworth College are the five accredited online universities awarding the scholarships. This campaign is the third in a series of Project Working Mom initiatives, which have attracted more than 366,000 applications since January 2008. The first two campaigns distributed more than $4 million in full-ride scholarships to nearly 100 moms. “Having run the Project Working Mom campaigns over the past year, we have certainly seen a steady increase in applications today growing to more than a quarter of a million applicants this round,” said Terrence Thomas, EVP marketing operations for eLearners.com. “What we are seeing is a reflection of the heartbreaking reality of the job market today. Many people are without jobs, or stuck in a job that barely pays the bills, and people need a leg up on the competition — which often means continuing their education.” According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for people with at least a bachelor’s degree is more than four percent lower than those with only a high school education. The unemployment numbers from March show that 4.3 percent of people with a bachelor’s degree were unemployed compared to 9.0 percent of people with only a high school education.