Ds Scholarship

First-time Philly college students honor Octavius Catto

David Thomas, vice president of strategic initiatives and community engagement at the Community College of Philadelphia said people who receive this scholarship are more likely to stay in school.

“While we’re gathered here today to celebrate the accomplishments of our scholars, we also know that we’re just getting started,” he said.

The scholarship is a local example of a “promise program,” which offers college scholarships beyond existing federal and state financial aid for local students.

Back in 2020, city officials had estimated the program could help thousands of students go to school.

Last year, the president of the college’s Student Government Association and an assistant professor of English wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer that while the scholarship is “a vital move toward free CCP for all Philadelphians,” community college should be free for part-time students as well.

CCP financial aid specialist Paul Tamke also advocated for doubling the Pell Grant, which gives financial aid to undergraduate students without a loan. He pointed to research showing that with the rising cost of colleges, a student who got the maximum amount from a Pell Grant would on average be able to cover less than 30% of the cost of a four-year public university, compared to more than three fourths back in the 1970s.

The scholarship ceremony also comes a few weeks after First Lady Jill Biden said the Biden administration would not include two free years of free community college to eligible students in a social spending plan as promised. President Biden said that is because of opposition from Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

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