Philadelphia's Mayor Street, Congressman Fattah, Superintendent Valles Create Scholarship Assistance Program for High School Graduates
By Fritz Edelstein, and Stephanie Beer, USCM intern
November 3, 2003
Through the leadership of Philadelphia Mayor John Street in partnership with the Philadelphia Public Schools announced in September 2003 the establishment of the College Opportunity Resources for Education (CORE). This is a "Last Dollar" scholarship program that provides scholarship assistance to every student graduating from Philadelphia public or charter schools. High school seniors must be a resident of Philadelphia along with at least one parent or guardian and must have attended Philadelphia public or charter schools for four consecutive years. Eligible students must be accepted to the Community College of Philadelphia (state-related institution) or one of the 14 Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Universities and be pursuing an Associates or Bachelors degree.
Eligible students will be awarded up to a maximum of $3,000 for the first year of college. Taking into account all the other financial aid and scholarship funds awarded to the student and then calculating the student's remaining need will determine the amount.
$40 million has been pledged by the city and the school system to support this program over the next four years. Philadelphia will provide up to $16 million over the next four years. This still must be approved by city council. The school district led by Superintendent Paul Valles will provide up to $24 million and the School Reform Commission must approve it. Sallie Mae Fund has promised to underwrite all administrative costs so all of the funds will go directly to the scholarships.
Philadelphia Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA) first authored and sponsored the GEAR UP Act that provides funding to create college access programs in middle and high schools. The Congressman hopes to see an increase in the amount of students graduating from high school and going on to college as a result of this new scholarship program. Congressman Fattah will lead a campaign to raise $150 million in private contributions to fund more scholarships starting in 2008. Fattah has said, "with these scholarships, each student in Philadelphia's public high schools will now be motivated and burdened by the possibilities and certainty that they are the architects of their own future and that of our city's."
The scholarships are expected to be available for seniors graduating in 2004. For those interested in more information contact the Philadelphia Public School District's Office of College and Career Awareness at 215-299-7807 or visit the CORE Philadelphia website at www.corephilly.org.