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CCP scholarship to make college free for some students

Exterior of Philadelphia community college.
Photo: Emma Lee/WHYY

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but the Community College of Philadelphia recently pledged to make its tuition free for qualifying Philadelphia high school graduates.

CCP’s 50th Anniversary Scholarship will cover the difference between federal aid, particularly Pell grants, and the total cost of tuition and fees for up to three years or until students complete an associate’s degree. Students must be eligible for Pell grants, which go to those whose families earn less than $50,000 a year, and must meet some other academic requirements.

College president Guy Generals says the program focuses on high-achieving students — who could choose a four-year school — but who might need help paying for their education. "It’s not a representative example, because we’re asking that they come full time and they test at the college level" in English composition, said Generals.

Most current CCP students do not fit this bill, according to Generals. "Seventy percent of our students test below the college level" and place into remedial classes, he said.

Generals expects that the program will help about 440 students next year at a total cost of $200,000. That amount will rise to around $350,000 once the program is fully enrolled.

"I think it’s a new day in community colleges," said Generals, speaking about the need for more low-cost, high-quality college options in the age of rising four-year tuitions. "It’s not your mom and pop’s grade 13, that stereotype from 20 years ago."

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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