Education Funding News in Brief

‘Pittsburgh Promise’ Program Lands $6 Million Donation

By Catherine Gewertz — November 10, 2008 1 min read

The Pittsburgh school district’s “Pittsburgh Promise” program, which offers college scholarships for its graduates, has received a $6 million boost from the Heinz Endowments.

The money is part of a $10.2 million grant announced on Oct. 28. It includes $2 million to the district’s Fund for Excellence, a pool of financing from philanthropies and other groups that helps support Superintendent Mark Roosevelt’s school-improvement work. Also included is $500,000 for a district program to design culturally responsive arts education and unspecified sums for a variety of school-specific projects.

The Pittsburgh Promise, modeled after a similar program in Kalamazoo, Mich., offers $5,000 college scholarships to graduates of the city schools who maintained a 2.5 grade point average and an 85 percent attendance rate. If Pennsylvania introduces a mandatory high school exit exam as it plans to do within a few years, students who pass it will qualify for scholarships of up to $10,000.

Last December, officials of the 28,000-student district announced a $100 million commitment to the Promise fund. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center pledged $10 million, and said it would also contribute $2 for every $3 the district raises until the medical center’s contribution reached $90 million. (“Pittsburgh College Fund Lands Donation”, Dec. 12, 2007.)

A version of this article appeared in the November 12, 2008 edition of Education Week

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