College & Workforce Readiness

Pittsburgh College Fund Lands Donation

By Catherine Gewertz — December 11, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Pittsburgh school district has secured a $100 million commitment to a fund that helps the city’s high school graduates afford college.

Officials from the school district and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center announced on Dec. 5 that the medical center will give $10 million to the Pittsburgh Promise fund. The medical center will provide $2 for every $3 the district raises until the medical center’s contribution reaches $90 million.

The announcement represents a huge step for the fund, which had received only one contribution in the year since it opened: $10,000 from the local teachers’ union.

Superintendent Mark Roosevelt said he is optimistic that the new pledge and its matching mechanism will enable the district to reach its goal of amassing $250 million in the fund over 10 years and creating an endowment.

Mr. Roosevelt declined to say whether he has already lined up additional pledges that will trigger the medical center’s matching dollars. But he said he has done “a lot of work communicating with other folks, and I’m very optimistic. We will get this done.”

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Pennsylvania. See data on Pennsylvania’s public school system.

The superintendent teamed up with Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl last year to establish the fund as a way to keep families in Pittsburgh and to improve the future prospects of its young people. Enrollment in the city schools has declined from 35,000 in 2002 to 28,000 this year.

Local foundations withdrew their support from the schools five years ago, citing fiscal and leadership problems. (“Freeze on Grants Roils Pittsburgh District,” Aug. 7, 2002.)

But they reinstated their backing with a new cooperative fund to support Mr. Roosevelt’s initiatives. When he took the helm two years ago, he began focusing on revitalizing the district’s financial and academic picture by closing 22 schools, kicking off a major high school improvement campaign, and installing a new curriculum in elementary and middle schools.

“It’s absolutely necessary for Pittsburgh to have this kind of program,” he said in an interview.

Standards to Meet

This year’s 2,000 graduating seniors qualify for an annual scholarship of up to $5,000 to any public college or university in Pennsylvania, and some private schools in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, if they have attended city schools for the last four years and have at least a 2.0 grade point average in high school.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see Colleges and Careers.

Next year, the GPA requirement will be raised to 2.5, and graduates must have an 85 percent attendance rate to qualify. Graduates of the class of 2010 will have to have 90 percent attendance to qualify. Pennsylvania plans to introduce a required high school exit exam in the next few years, and when it does, students who pass it will qualify for scholarships of up to $10,000.

The Pittsburgh Promise is modeled after the Kalamazoo Promise, which pays up to 100 percent of tuition and fees for that city’s high school graduates to attend public colleges or universities in Michigan. The 2-year-old fund has paid about $3 million to about 700 students so far, said Bob Jorth, its executive administrator.

The Kalamazoo program has no high school GPA requirement, but students who use it must maintain a 2.0 GPA in college to hold onto their scholarships. Pittsburgh Promise scholarship recipients must do likewise.

Mr. Roosevelt said the secondary school GPA and attendance requirements in Pittsburgh’s program are intended to ensure that city students can afford to attend college, but are academically prepared to succeed there as well.

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

College & Workforce Readiness Amid a Rocky FAFSA Rollout, Ed. Dept. Offers Colleges More Flexibility
The changes are meant to free up colleges and universities to process aid forms more quickly and easily.
4 min read
Applications for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form are on the rise.
Applications for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form are on the rise.
Jon Elswick/AP
College & Workforce Readiness A Career Prep Bill Gets Bipartisan Support in the Senate. What’s in It?
New federal legislation would authorize state grants to bolster dual enrollment, apprenticeships, and other forms of on-the-job training.
4 min read
Heidi Griebel and Josie Wahl participate in carpentry class at Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Jan. 7, 2019.
Heidi Griebel and Josie Wahl participate in carpentry class at the Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Jan. 7, 2019. A new bill in the U.S. Senate would authorize state grants to bolster dual enrollment, apprenticeships, and other forms of on-the-job training.
Loren Townsley/The Argus Leader via AP
College & Workforce Readiness In Wake of Hiccups and Tight Deadlines, Feds Beef Up Supports for Fledgling FAFSA
The newly designed Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, branded the "Better FAFSA," is prompting lots of frustration.
3 min read
In this May 5, 2018 file photo, graduates at the University of Toledo commencement ceremony in Toledo, Ohio. On the bumpy road to repayment this fall, student loan borrowers have some qualms. Borrowers filed more than 101,000 student loan complaints with the Federal Student Aid office in 2022 – more than double from 2021 – and that number is poised to increase further as October payments approach.
High school seniors who are hoping to one day graduate from college are facing significant roadblocks in getting answers to how much federal student aid they can get from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which has been plagued by delays and technical glitches. Above, students at the University of Toledo in Ohio participate in graduation ceremonies on May 5, 2018.
Carlos Osorio/AP
College & Workforce Readiness The New Digital SAT: 4 Important Details Educators Need to Know
The digital SAT college admissions exam launches in the United States this spring.
6 min read
Tight crop of a student's hands using a keyboard on table to do test examination with multiple choice bubble form on virtual screen.
iStock/Getty