Ten New Haven Promise “scholars” — public school students receiving scholarships to cover their college tuition — heading off to Southern Connecticut State University next fall could have their housing expenses for their first year at school covered in addition to their tuition.
SCSU President Joe Bertolino joined officials at City Hall Wednesday to announce the Promise Community Ambassador Scholarship program. The program will provide housing scholarships to 10 first-year New Haven Promise Scholars starting with the class of 2018. Students applying for traditional Promise scholarships will be able to apply for the Southern program by writing an essay and providing a letter of recommendation.
“It is an honor for me and for Southern to help advance the vital work of the New Promise Scholars program to ensure that a college degree becomes attainable for all the city’s students,” Bertolino said. “To-date Southern has more Promise scholars — 339 — than any other university in the state.
“We take great pride in that and this new leadership development program will build on that success story,” he added.
Bertolino said the students —the first 10 will be selected in May— will be known as “Promise community ambassadors.” In addition to participating in the university’s Freshman Leadership Experience, or FLEX, program, five of the scholars will be responsible for helping to build relationships and connections among current Promise scholars. The other five ambassadors will focus on community outreach and education for New Haven high school students.
Mayor Toni Harp said the new scholarship program will expand educational opportunities for New Haven students and increase access to post-secondary education for the city’s high school students.
“Since 2010, New Haven Promise has given students the incentive to achieve and the wherewithal for hundreds of New Haven students to go to college, advance their education and improve their prospects for a productive career and life,” she said.
New Haven Promise scholarships are funded by Yale University. The scholarships help cover the cost of tuition for New Haven students who maintain a 3.0-grade point average, have good attendance and volunteer.
But students often still need additional help to defray the other costs of obtaining a higher education. Starting last year, New Haven Promise Scholars attending the University of Connecticut were eligible for a renewable grant to help further defray the costs of attending that university.
Iline Tracey, director of instruction for New Haven Public Schools, said it made her especially proud that New Haven students will have further assistance in affording school. A self-described, proud graduate of SCSU, she called the new scholarship program, and the forthcoming 21st Century Communications Magnet and Lab School being built on the university’s campus, “trailblazing.”
“We’ve been in real partnership for a long time,” she said. “And I say thank you for helping to blaze this trail for young people.”
“Southern is your public university here in your backyard,” Bertolino said. “We are here to partner with you. We are here to serve. We are here to be in and of the community so we invite you to come visit with us, to see us and more importantly when you are looking for a partner like New Haven Promise, we are here to help in that partnership.”