Continuing Yale University's longstanding support for the renaissance of its hometown, President Richard C. Levin on Tuesday joined with New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo, and Community Foundation President William Ginsberg to launch New Haven Promise, a visionary scholarship and support program for city residents who graduate from a public school in the city and attend college in Connecticut.
"Yale's strength is inextricably linked to the community's strength. The Promise program builds on the New Haven renaissance of the last two decades that has made our community a national model of urban vitality," Levin noted. "Yale's support flows from our commitment to New Haven and our belief that quality education should be accessible to all."
Mayor DeStefano thanked the entire Yale University community for its commitment to New Haven. According to DeStefano, this new effort stands with the work done by Yale over the past two decades that "has forever changed its place in the city to one of mutual support and success." Noting that School Change and the Promise scholarship program involve everyone in the community, the Mayor said, “As a community of adults, we are going to organize ourselves around our young people.”
New Haven Promise scholarships will be available to students who are New Haven residents and attended New Haven Public Schools or public charter schools in the city. Recipients must achieve a 3.0 or better grade point average in high school, have a positive disciplinary record and a 90% or better attendance record, complete a community service requirement, and maintain a 2.5 or higher GPA while enrolled in college.
The scholarship awards will help eligible students cover the full tuition for in-state public colleges and up to $2,500 per year for independent, non-profit colleges. The program will be phased in over the next four years, with the full benefit available to current high school freshman in the Class of 2014.
The Promise program will be a component fund of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Yale has agreed to be the primary donor for the scholarships offered by New Haven Promise in its first four years, and the Community Foundation will fund administrative and other expenses. Complete details on eligibility requirements and scholarship awards are available online at www.newhavenpromise.org.
The City, Yale, and the Community Foundation all see New Haven Promise as a catalyst for more than increasing high school graduation and college-going rates. They expect it will encourage more families to remain in and move to New Haven and inspire more young people to prepare to succeed in careers in the city's strong and growing base of educational and medical institutions and bioscience companies.
Making New Haven an even more attractive place to live and raise a family will be a benefit for the whole community, according to Troy Resch, a 1997 Yale School of Management graduate and founder of the local firm Elm Campus Partners, who lives in Westville with his wife, Zoe Cummings Resch M.A. '97.
"We chose to live in New Haven because it is a lively, diverse community full of people committed to making the community better," he said. "Two of our three kids are now in public school and the youngest will follow. The Promise program will surely motivate more families of all backgrounds to make the choice we have to live and work in New Haven and raise their families here. It will also encourage more young people in New Haven to excel in their studies, knowing that college is accessible and affordable."
Yale's contribution to Promise exemplifies the University's belief in access to higher education, already seen in the substantial financial aid Yale College students receive and in the University's scholarship contributions to sons and daughters of Yale employees. Yale College admits students for their academic and personal promise without regard to ability to pay. Families earning less than $60,000 annually do not make any contribution to the cost of an admitted child's education, and families earning between $60,000 and $120,000 typically contribute only 1% to 10% of their income. More than half of all undergraduates receive need-based, and the University provides more than $100 million annually in financial aid for Yale College students.
The University has also long-offered substantial scholarship awards to children of employees who have worked at Yale for six or more years through the Yale Sons and Daughters Scholarship, which provides up to $15,200 annually per child to offset higher education costs.
Among the New Haven residents who can benefit from Promise scholarships are high school graduates of 2011 or later with a parent who is a Yale employee who has worked at Yale for less than six years and therefore is not yet eligible for the Sons and Daughters Scholarship.
The New Haven Promise program is the capstone of the New Haven School Change Initiative, which has attracted positive attention around the nation. Through School Change, the City is moving forward to have its students meet statewide academic performance, increase the graduation rate further, and ensure that every high school graduate has the ability and resources to succeed in college. School change efforts include strengthened teacher and student assessment, more management flexibility for high-performing schools, intensive support for schools in need of improvement, and cooperation with public charter schools. Forging meaningful partnerships with community stakeholders is central to School Change, with the New Haven Promise as a key component.
Yale's participation in New Haven Promise builds on the University's extensive partnerships with local public schools. Each year, more than 10,000 New Haven public school students across all grades participate in academic programs on the Yale campus, such as the science fair and classes in Yale museums. More than 1,000 Yale faculty, staff, and students work in local schools and community centers each year as tutors and mentors with New Haven young people.
The University's public schools outreach programs include a focus on encouraging and supporting high school students to succeed in college. Over 200 students at the Hill Regional Career High School, for example, have studied in the Yale SCHOLAR program in recent years. A residential program on campus in the summer, SCHOLAR provides high school students with opportunities to hone their skills in physics, biology, and chemistry. All of the participants in the program have gone on to higher education, with nearly half being the first in their family to attend college. At the Cooperative Arts and Humanities Magnet High School, Yale faculty, students and staff work in 18 after-school programs with nearly 300 high school students in a partnership that brings together the high school with Yale's many resources in the visual, performing, and literary arts.
"As a good neighbor that has called New Haven home for nearly three centuries, Yale is proud to do our part to make our hometown ever stronger," said Levin. "Our contribution to the Promise program will keep New Haven's renaissance going by helping young people now and in the future."