Temple’s Philadelphia Scholars program makes college a more accessible dream to public high school students, but Mayor Michael Nutter calls on more followers to increase its impact on the city.
President Ann Weaver Hart announced the new scholarships on Wednesday before a board meeting at the school district’s administrative building, located only a mile from Main Campus.
Starting in 2009, the university has guaranteed to provide four full scholarships every year over the following 10 years. In addition to scholastic achievement and economic need, special consideration will be given to schools in the immediate area surrounding Main Campus.
According to the Bursar’s Office, full-time undergraduate tuition was $10,252 for in-state residents during the 2007-2008 academic year.
While there may be a limited number of full scholarships, there is an admissions priority for recruiting Philadelphians, said Hillel Hoffmann, assistant director at Temple’s Office of Communications.
“This program is one of many scholarships available to Philadelphia students,” Hoffmann said, adding that this is just the next one that got a lot of attention.
Temple already provides two additional full scholarships to students interested in education at Germantown and South Philadelphia high schools.
“It will be part of my goal and commitment to reach out . . . to the 91 other [college and university] presidents to talk about how they would be able to replicate this effort that has been put forward by Temple University,” Nutter said at the announcement.
“If everyone did a proportionate share, I think this is a wonderful opportunity to start talking about . . . 1,000 full, four-year scholarships,” he said.
Nutter’s goal would provide free tuition to 2 percent of Philadelphia’s almost 49,000 high school students. Considering that only a quarter of those students are graduating seniors, the percentage is much higher.
Temple, however, is not the only school that is catering specifically to local schools. Last year, Drexel University partnered with Philadelphia Futures to create a similar program that currently has two students enrolled.
“Drexel already offers a full tuition plus room-and-board scholarship each year to two graduates of the city high schools,” said Joan McDonald, the school’s vice president of enrollment.
University of Pennsylvania administrators were unable to comment on Nutter’s appeal. However, a March 18 press release announced a new financial aid initiative that would waive tuition for all students whose family income in less than $90,000.
Aside from getting high school students into college, Nutter has committed to keeping them here once they graduate.
When asked what the university could do to stem the loss, Hoffman commented that it was “the question that should be asked to every other institution.”
“About one in every eight college-educated [person] who lives in Philadelphia or the four surrounding Pennsylvania counties has at least one Temple degree,” Hoffman said in a 2007 release.
Drexel President Constantine Papadakis has in the past commented on the loss of Philadelphia’s college graduates and has suggested that providing more “real-world situations” may be the key.
“In Boston, 42 percent of non-native students stay in the region after graduation. That number is just 29 percent in Philadelphia,” Papadakis said.
“Drexel places students around the country and at international locations, but the vast majority of co-op jobs are in Greater Philadelphia. And fully one third of Drexel graduates go on to work full-time for a former co-op employer.”
In 2004, the National Center for Education Statistics ranked Philadelphia as the ninth-largest school district in the nation. It is also one of the most diverse, with nearly 87 percent of the population being non-white, according to the School District of Philadelphia Web site.
Data from a study done by the EPE Research Center showed that in 2004, only 56 percent of expected Philadelphia high school seniors graduated.
Kriston Bethel can be reached at email@example.com.