November 9, 2010; Source: New York Times | There’s no telling whether kids in New Haven’s public schools will make it to Yale after graduating from high school. But to make sure that every student who wants to go to a public university or college in Connecticut can go, Yale University is offering to pay between 65 percent and 100 percent of their four-year tuition.
Those who opt for private schools will receive an annual $2,500 award. Any students who live in the city and have attended New Haven’s public schools – including charters –since ninth grade or longer are eligible for the program. Called New Haven Promise, the program doesn’t set a ceiling on family income, but students must have at least a 3.0 grade point average and a 90 percent attendance rate. Yale University is contributing $4 million of the program’s annual cost, with another $500,000 coming from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
Both Yale and the foundation have pledged their support for the first four years. After that, the program expects to raise money from other sources, including private colleges, according to New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. The city’s program is modeled after similar ones around the country designed to slash dropout rates and increase college enrollment and graduation. The current dropout rate in New Haven is 38 percent.
With costs of higher education spiraling, the program is seen as a godsend to parents who worry about how they’d be able to afford to pay tuition costs. “I’m still paying off student loans from when I went to college 12 years ago,” 34, said Roland Lemar, a Connecticut state representative. “And to allow an entire generation of New Haven residents to attend college without that burden, my children included, is a wonderful statement of where our priorities are.”—Bruce Trachtenberg