Pittsburgh Promise scholarship fund stable

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The Pittsburgh Promise fund has enough money currently to meet its financial obligations to the 3,100 Pittsburgh students currently enrolled in higher education and those who are headed there in the next four years.

That was the news from the annual report presented today on the Pittsburgh Promise, the scholarship established three years ago to help Pittsburgh Public Schools students who hit grade and attendance targets afford a college education.

The report was given at a press conference at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 School Downtown and was attended by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, fund chairman Franco Harris and city schools Superintendent Linda Lane.

In the first year of operation, students received up to $5,000 annually. But students who graduate this year -- 2012 -- will be eligible for up to $10,000 in scholarship funds, said Saleem Ghubril, executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise.

Students must have a grade point average of 2.5 and a 90 percent attendance rate.

He said the Pittsburgh Promise currently has received $147 million in pledges, of which $74 million have been paid to date. Its goal is to raise $250 million by 2018.

This year, the scholarship fund raised $12.3 million, which leveraged a matching contribution of $8.2 million from UPMC. The health system has pledged up to $100 million to the Pittsburgh Promise by matching each $1.50 the fund raises with a $1 contribution from UPMC.

This year's total exceeded last year, when $11.3 million was raised, matched by $7.6 million from UPMC.

Both years the total raised fell short of the ambitious goal of raising $15 million a year. But Mr. Ghubril said the fund is extremely stable at this point and able to meet its obligations for the next four years.

Mary Niederberger: mniederberger@post-gazette.com ; 412-851-1512.


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