Local students will accept 250 scholarships over a decade.
Yesterday, Aug. 29, marked an important event in Temple’s history, not only as the first day of classes for the 2011-12 school year, but also as the inaugural inception of the 20/20 Scholarship program.
The university has been collaborating with Pennsylvania legislators and city government officials for 17 years to create this opportunity. It offers 250 scholarships over the next 10 years to matriculated high school graduates from the surrounding neighborhoods with zip codes 19121, 19122, 19132 and 19133. An average of 25 students will be selected each year – this year, 22 were selected from 17 different area high schools, including 16 public schools.
The 20/20 Scholarship program boosts Temple’s annual scholarship amount awarded to Philadelphia students to $12 million.
This program will offer $5,000 annually to each student selected for four years, as a means to cover funds not met by other scholarships, student loans and aid offered from Temple.
Mayor Michael Nutter said this program represents Philadelphia’s goal to stay focused on education and increase the city’s graduation rate from 23 percent in 2009, to the high 30-to-40 percent range.
“There’s no reason in the world why we shouldn’t be able to do that,” Nutter told the audience of alumni, state legislators and scholarship recipients.
In light of the recent tuition hike, this program raised concerns about Temple’s budget, but state officials remain positive this program will only benefit the city.
“Yes, this is a tough time, yes, we’re in a recession…but colleges and universities like Temple, stepping up and providing an opportunity to lessen economic funds of students…or families that are struggling…this is a magnificent effort,” Nutter continued.
The mayor explained that institutions of higher learning are vital to the city’s stability. Temple and other neighboring schools have their own economic impact, affect the community, provide job opportunities and bring knowledge to the city.
According to a press release from Nutter’s office on July 15, Nutter hopes Philadelphia to become “The Education City,” by raising the national literacy rate, and helping citizens become more educationally qualified to hold the city’s jobs.
Chaka Fattah, a member of the House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 2nd congressional district, reminded the audience that this program represents Temple’s long-standing effort to help the community.
“Even Russell Conwell would be impressed by the 20/20 Scholarship,” he said. “Right here in our backyard, there truly are acres of diamonds.”
Alexis Sachdev can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.