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New Haven Promise announces scholarships

By New Haven Promise

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NEW HAVEN, CT - At a ceremony on Wednesday evening, New Haven Promise awarded Promise scholarships to 123 graduates of New Haven public schools Class of 2012. These students will be attending 14 colleges and universities throughout Connecticut this fall.

In the program's second year, 352 high school seniors applied for the scholarship and172 qualified. (In 2011, 371 applied, 151 qualified, 115 accepted the scholarship and 110 enrolled in school full-time.) Of the 172, 123 accepted the scholarship and 118 will enroll in the fall of 2012 as full-time students. An additional 20 students filed an appeal and will learn later this month if they qualify for the scholarship.

"This year's scholars have made the New Haven Promise a reality," said New Haven Promise Board of Directors Chair and Yale University President Richard Levin. "They have applied themselves diligently, earned good grades, and contributed to their community. We look forward to their success in college and beyond."

At the ceremony, speakers included U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and members of the Promise Board of Directors. Southern Connecticut State University President Dr. Mary Papazian delivered the keynote address.

"Congratulations to the 123 students receiving New Haven Promise scholarships," said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. "Today's awards reflect the hard work and commitment to community these students have demonstrated over their academic careers. There is no better public investment or priority than the success of our young people, and I can think of no better way to reward these students than with the opportunity to continue their academic success in college."

"The young people who comprise this second cohort of New Haven Promise scholars are truly exceptional," said William W. Ginsberg, President & CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and a member of the New Haven Promise Board of Directors. "They understand that higher education is the path to fulfilling their potential. I am proud that New Haven Promise is providing these extraordinary students with the means to pursue their dreams."

Promise scholarships pay up to full tuition at in-state public colleges and universities and up to $2,500 at in-state private, nonprofit colleges and universities. To earn a Promise scholarship, students must live in New Haven, attend New Haven public schools, earn at least a 3.0 GPA, have 90% attendance, a positive disciplinary record and complete community service.

"This year's scholarship recipients have worked hard to get to this point, and they deserve the reward of higher education," SCSU President Mary Papazian said. "But the city of New Haven -- and in fact, the entire region -- also benefits from these students' success. Investing in their future by sustaining them throughout their educational journeys is just what New Haven Promise is about."

"A High School diploma is a significant first milestone that creates the pathway to opportunity and higher education," said Gateway Community College President Dr. Dorsey Kendrick. "I am so pleased to know that the young people who will be honored tonight have already demonstrated an understanding of this, and that they have the vision to pursue higher degrees of knowledge. On behalf of the Gateway Community College family, I congratulate them and invite them to consider Gateway as their home, both now -- at the beginning of their journey -- and in the future, as they pursue lifelong learning."

The scholarship is being phased in over the next few years with the Class of 2014 being the first class to receive the full 100 percent. Scholars from the Class of 2011 receive up to 25 percent of the scholarship. This year's scholars receive up to 50 percent and the Class of 2013 will receive up to 75 percent. To continue receiving the scholarship during all four years of college, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA.

Of the 2011 Promise scholars, at least 71 of the 115 will receive their Promise scholarship in the fall 2012 semester. Students who did not meet the 2.5 GPA requirement to keep their Promise scholarship were notified and given an opportunity to appeal.

"The appeals process is designed to allow students the opportunity to advocate for themselves and to explain any extenuating circumstances," said interim executive director Adriana Arreola Joseph. "The first year of college is a difficult transition for many students, but we have high hopes and expectations for Promise scholars. That said, we believe students should be given the opportunity to explain why they didn't meet the GPA requirement. Students are required to make their arguments via letter and are encouraged to provide supporting documentation."

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