The Lumina Foundation gives cash, guidance to the Pittsburgh Promise

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Pittsburgh is among 20 cities in the United States that will receive up to $200,000 and guidance from national organizations to help increase the number of residents who seek post-secondary degrees.

The money will come from the Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit whose goal is to increase the percentage of Americans with high quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. That number is now about 38 percent, according to Lumina officials.

Pittsburgh was chosen because of the work already being done by the Pittsburgh Promise to encourage and finance college and other post-secondary degrees for students of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina.

The Promise will be the recipient of the funding and the professional guidance from such national organizations as the American Chamber of Commerce, Brookings Institution, Institute for Higher Education Policy and Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Pittsburgh Promise executive director Saleem Ghubril said the funding and services will be used in Pittsburgh to increase post-secondary education among African-American males, the group that has the smallest numbers taking advantage of the Promise scholarships.

In addition, Mr. Ghubril said, a program aimed at helping older residents attain post-secondary degrees likely would be developed as well, though Pittsburgh Promise scholarship money could not be used for such a program.

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