Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Melissa Bailey writes for the New Haven Independent:
The city has an offer for freshmen in its public high schools: Keep up good grades and stay in school, and you’ll get a full ride to a state college or university.
That’s part of a new “Promise” the city unveiled Tuesday as part of its ambitious school reform drive.
It will pay up to 25 percent of the tuition for qualifying seniors who go on to public colleges or universities in Connecticut next year; up to 50 percent for the class after that, up to 75 percent for the following class; and up to 100 percent for the Class of 2014. Then funders will decide whether to continue the program.
Yale University has pledged up to $4 million per year to fund the new college tuition program, called New Haven Promise, according to Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. The program will be available to New Haven residents who attend public schools, with some conditions. Yale has committed to fund the program for an initial eight years as it is phased in for the four classes of current high school students; the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven will pay for the employees to administer the fund.
The program is a “contract that says to kids: If you work hard, you demonstrate academic achievement and display appropriate behaviors, we’ll give you the tools to go to college and therefore inject choice and opportunity in your lives,” said the mayor.
DeStefano and other officials announced the news at a 9:30 a.m. press conference Tuesday at the downtown Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School. . . .
Like the mayor’s immigrant-friendly municipal ID card, the Promise program will be open to all New Haven residents regardless of immigration status, DeStefano said. Right now, students have to be legal immigrants or citizens in order to get in-state tuition; illegal immigrants have to pay out-of-state tuition, which is about $10,000 at the state universities and $24,500 at UConn.
State legislators, including New Haven Sen. Martin Looney, have been pushing for a statewide version of the DREAM Act that would allow Connecticut residents who are undocumented immigrants to get in-state tuition. DeStefano said he will urge the state legislature to pass such a bill; he also said he’s working with various in-state colleges to work out an arrangement concerning the issue. Until such a change is made, he said, Promise will pay “full tuition” for each eligible student, even if that student is an immigrant who must pay out-of-state tuition. Read more...