New Haven students bound for the University of Connecticut discovered their scholarship fund had grown Tuesday — the same day tuition hikes for the next four years were proposed.
Gathered in the black-box theater of the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School yesterday morning, students and community members, including former New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr., heard UConn President Susan Herbst announce that as of next fall, all New Haven Promise Scholars who attend UConn will receive an additional $5,000 each year in scholarship money from the university.
New Haven Promise, a scholarship program that covers up to the full cost of college for high-performing students at city public schools, is funded by Yale and Yale-New Haven Hospital as well as the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and Wells Fargo bank. Herbst said UConn expanded its scholarship, which has sent 132 students to UConn in the last three years, in order to better serve its recipients.
“This partnership between UConn and New Haven Promise is firm,” Herbst said. “It’s something with the potential to make positive changes throughout the state of Connecticut, which struggles with one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation.”
New Haven Promise Executive Director Patricia Melton ’83 told the crowd Tuesday that UConn’s announcement was delivered in a fitting location: Five years ago New Haven Promise was announced in the same black-box theater.
Melton reminded students that the application for this year’s scholarships opened Tuesday, jokingly adding that she hoped applicants would crash the organization’s servers with their submissions.
Other speakers, like Mayor Toni Harp and University President Peter Salovey, stressed the importance of the partnership between New Haven Promise and UConn, noting that the initiative promotes the success of New Haven students, many of whom come from ethnic-minority backgrounds.
At a separate press conference later that day, UConn Chief Financial Officer Scott Jordan unveiled a series of proposed tuition hikes over the next four years.
These hikes, which would go into effect next fall if approved by the university’s board of trustees, would increase in-state tuition by approximately 7 percent each year. The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday that in-state tuition would rise from the current figure of $10,524 to $13,799 by fall 2019.
Promise Scholars at UConn receive, on average, $14,894 in scholarships and grants each academic year, the organization reports.
The current total cost of attendance for a Promise Scholar at UConn amounts to $26,438 per year.
New Haven Public Schools Superintendent Garth Harries ’95 asked how many of the students present in the theater Tuesday were applying to UConn. To cheers and applause, almost every student raised their hand.
Harries cited the city’s growing high school graduation rates, college matriculation rates and high school retention rates as evidence of NHPS’s promotion of college enrollment through programs like New Haven Promise.
Herbst also announced the President to President Scholarship Program Monday, which awards $8,000 over two years to high-performing students who transfer from an in-state community college to UConn.
New Haven Promise awarded scholarships to 253 students in the class of 2015 from a pool of 535 applicants. Forty of these students currently attend UConn, and three attend Yale.