UConn offering financial incentives to New Haven high school students

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NEW HAVEN -- On the same day that UConn announced plans to increase tuition between 6 and 7 percent in each of the next four years--a total increase of more than $12,000 for in-state students--the university also held an event to promote a program that makes it more affordable for students from New Haven to attend the state’s flagship university.

An initiative called New Haven Promise, started five years ago and funded by local organizations and Yale University, provides qualified New Haven students the opportunity to have their entire college tuition paid for at a state university. On Tuesday, UConn added additional an incentive.

“Today, we are announcing that UConn will provide a minimum of $5,000 each year for each New Haven Promise student who enrolls in the university,” said UConn President Susan Herbst, who noted that would bring the total annual average scholarship per New Haven Promise student to roughly $15,000.

“It's something with the potential to make positive changes throughout our state of Connecticut, which struggles with one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation,” noted Herbst.

Yale University, which provides all scholarship money to New Haven Promise, applauds UConn's efforts.

“It is great to be able to create a college-bound culture in this city,” said Yale President Peter Salovey, who also serves as the chairman of the New Haven Promise Board of Directors.

In 2015, 14 New Haven Promise scholars earned their degrees from UConn. The announcement of additional funds is inspiring the next generation of program members.

“Some people I know are worried about like the school fees and the room and board and stuff like that, and I think this will like benefit some kids,” said Katia Mata, a senior at Wilbur Cross High School.

"UConn was one of my choices and this will just keep moving UConn to the top of the list,” said Richard Artis a senior at Metropolitan Business Academy who is looking into a future in engineering.

For students looking to apply for a New Haven Promise scholarship, the criteria is pretty simple: Students maintain a B average in high school, which is an 80 on the 100-point scale,” said Patricia Melton, executive director of New Haven Promise.

Students also must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community service and “have very good attendance--a 90 pecent attendance rate,” added Melton.

To date, over 700 students have received scholarship money to 19 colleges and universities in Connecticut through New Haven Promise.