Pa. legislators call for free college through PA Promise

State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia-Montgomery) and state Reps. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) and James Roebuck (D-Philadelphia) led the push for free college educations for those in commonwealth through the the Pennsylvania Promise initiative.

Hughes sponsored Senate Bill 111 and Harris and Roebuck sponsored a companion bill in the House, House Bill 244, which provides “last dollar” funding of tuition and fees after accounting for all other federal, state and institutional grants awarded to a students.

Under the proposal, students with a household income of $110,000 or less would be eligible for: up to four years or an associate degree at a community college; up to four years at a state-owned or state-related university; any combination of community college, state-owned or state-related university, not to exceed 4 years of eligibility; and room and board would be covered for students with family incomes equal to or less than $48,000.

“This is not an option, it is a requirement,” Harris said in a statement. “It is a requirement that we step up as a commonwealth and make sure our young people are able to succeed and go on to be the next doctors and lawyers who will help future generations of Pennsylvanians.”

Added Hughes, “At this movement continues to grow, we are hearing from more and more folks who are struggling because of student debt or from those who have had to defer opportunities because they can’t afford to go to college. We shouldn’t be turning away capable minds because of finances, nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that we have a large number of homeless and starving students on campuses across the commonwealth.”

Universal Audrenried student wins award from Widener Univ.

Universal Audenried Charter High School junior Schneider Bouillon received the High School leadership award from Widener University. He was selected from a pool of scholars across the state.

If he decides to attend Widener University, he will receive a partial scholarship and be enrolled in the Oskin leadership Institute.

Partnership launches new GreatPhillySchools site

The Philadelphia School Partnership launched the redesign of its GreatPhillySchools.org website, which the organization says will help families find schools and ratings for public, district, public charter, parochial and private schools across the city.

New features include search filters (school ratings, type, grade level and location), compare features (comparing two or three schools using differenet factors), open seat finder (look for schools still enrolling children), and easy to understand data (detail on data that underlies the 1-10 ratings and display comparisons to state averages in categories).

“Based on the feedback from families through surveys, focus groups and advisory panels, GreatPhillySchools tries to give families the information they need in a way that is most accessible and user-friendly for them,” said GreatPhillySchools Director Salma Khan in a statement. “Families said they wanted more ways to find and compare schools based on specific criteria, so we built the new GPS website with more search filters than ever before.”

UnitedHealthcare donates $75K to children’s scholarship

The Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia was awarded with a donation of $75,000 from UnitedHealthcare. The award will provide about 38 students with scholarships for the upcoming year.

CSFP partners with more than 170 diverse elementary and middle schools in the Philadelphia region to ensure that scholarship recipients can access schools that meet their needs.

“We know that good health depends on more than just quality health care,” said Dan Tropeano, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania in a statement. “UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to support the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia to provide students with an education that will have a positive impact on their health now into adult.”

— Compiled by Ryanne Persinger

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