'Saginaw Promise' gives tuition assistance to 100 students
Posted By Tom Plahutnik, Web Editor/Producer - email
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -
Despite a weakened economy, the Saginaw Promise will nearly quadruple local scholarship dollars given to Saginaw city students this year.
Officials with the program said the Saginaw Promise Scholarship will provide financial support to more than 100 Saginaw Public Schools' Class of 2012 graduating seniors.
After a year of fundraising, the Promise will give qualifying students up to $2,000 a year for a 4-year degree program and up to $1,000 a year for a 2-year program, numbers lower than originally intended, but more than what was once available for local students.
One example of how the Promise is helping students in Saginaw can be explained in the case of Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy grad Morgan Jackson, who will use the aid to enroll at Saginaw Valley State University. Morgan is working at a pizza establishment to help pay for a car and other expenses. Her father works at the Nexteer plant and her mother is employed by an insurance agency. "We were a little disappointed (by the reduced amount), but at the same time we are happy for whatever Saginaw Promise could give toward Morgan's college education," says mom Kelly Jackson, who notes that traditional financial aid is difficult to find for a student with two working parents.
With the support of college access coordinators and school counselors, 97% of all 2012 Saginaw graduates applied for college and the graduation rate increased by almost 9%. Graduating students received over seven million dollars in other scholarship offers.
A significant number of Saginaw Public School students have been accepted to Michigan's largest universities including Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan University and others.
Under the leadership of Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins, Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools, there continues to be a focus on a college-ready curriculum for all students. Preparing students for careers and future academic success in postsecondary and technical training is at the core of Saginaw educators work. In partnership with the business community, educational leaders and the local community, Saginaw is working to infuse applied skills into the entire core curriculum.
"This year has been successful in many ways," states Kendrick D. Kemp, Coordinator of the Saginaw Promise, citing the increased graduation rate, additional scholarship dollars, and college enrollment numbers as positives for the community. "We could not have made it this far without the support of the community, but in order for us to succeed in the future we will need everyone to give a little."
Saginaw Promise is one of 10 communities -- of more than 120 eligible -- that gained entrance into the Michigan Promise, approved by the state Legislature in 2009 and enacted under the former governor, Jennifer Granholm.
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