105 Promise Grads Stay Enrolled

Melissa Bailey PhotoAs the city’s much-watched college scholarship program enters its second semester, 105 New Haven Promise students are persisting in college thanks to a partial scholarship, and 10 have put their studies on hold.

That was the takeaway from a midpoint report released Wednesday by New Haven Promise, the city’s new college scholarship program funded by Yale and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. The scholarship offers up to a free ride in in-state colleges and universities to city kids who attend New Haven Public Schools, perform community service, keep up a B average in school and stay out of trouble.

The first class of students, who earned the scholarships last spring, is currently going through its first year at 16 Connecticut colleges and universities.

Ivan Gusman (pictured), the son of a Mexican migrant farm worker, is one student still enrolled in college into the second semester.

In total, 115 NHPS grads ended up qualifying for scholarships, according to Promise spokeswoman Betsy Yagla. Students have one year, until this fall, to claim that scholarship and enroll in school. Yagla said 103 Promise students enrolled in college in the fall, earning $45,000 in scholarships. Because the program is being phased in, they received up to 25 percent of the scholarship, which is up to full tuition at public in-state colleges and universities and up to $2,500 at in-state private nonprofit colleges and universities.

Of that group, Yagla said, 10 are not currently enrolled in school. Some alerted Promise ahead of time that they’re taking the spring semester off for “personal reasons.” Others who hadn’t enrolled in the fall did enroll in the spring, bringing the total to 105 students currently enrolled, for a total scholarship of $48,000.

Students have five years to use a four-year scholarship and three years to use a two-year scholarship. Yale University has pledged up to $4 million per year to fund the program; the Community Foundation provides the staff that run it and track student progress.

High school seniors have until April 2 to sign up for the scholarship here. Yagla encouraged all students to apply even if they plan to study out of state, so they can keep Promise as a Plan B. So far, 2,279 city high school students have signed a pledge to abide by the rules of the program.

Yagla said the program is off to a good start. Of the students who unenrolled for the spring semester for various reasons, “most of the kids have every intention of going back,” she said.

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