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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Promise has been going strong for a decade now, giving public school children in the city a chance to attend college.

Students can get as much as $30,000 in scholarships, and this year, the program is announcing some exciting new additions.

More students in the Pittsburgh Public School District are eligible for the Pittsburgh Promise every year.

“Thousands of kids have been served and lots of lives have been impacted,” said Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril.

Now, 10 years into the program, the Promise has the numbers to back up their claims that providing scholarships to students will help them succeed in life.

“Before we even had a kid in school, the biggest criticism was this — you are taking inner city kids, who are graduating from an urban public school system that’s not good, that’s failing them, you’re giving them money to go to college, they’re not ready, you’re throwing good money after bad,” Ghubril said. “I think the answer to those critics is, you’re wrong. It’s no longer a gamble, now it’s a sure bet.”

With that sure bet comes the need to remove more barriers.

That’s why the Promise announced that they are partnering with 19 Pennsylvania colleges and universities that will now provide additional grants for Promise students to help pay for room, board and books.

“I think that’s what’s important about this partnership, whether looking for a two year, a four year, a public or private, I think these preferred partnerships will provide them with a variety of choices,” said Sr. Candace Introcaso, the president of La Roche College.

The schools have been asked to pledge at least $2,000 per student, per year, but some have pledged more, up to $5,000.

The Promise has made higher education a reality for the majority of students in the district, raising $196 million to date and funding education for more than 7,300 students.

The new grants will be available beginning with the class of 2018.

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