PPS students who maintain a 2.5 GPA and a 90% attendance rate qualify for a $5,000-a-year college scholarship for four years.By Paul Martino

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Promise, a program designed to give college scholarships to every Pittsburgh Public Schools student who works for it, has reached an amazing milestone. In its 12-year history, scholarships have been given to more than 10,000 students, and it’s still going strong.

For many PPS kids, college wasn’t even a consideration. It’s just too expensive for many families.

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“We made an audacious promise, we had a big idea,” said Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril, who has been there since day one.

“A high school education is no longer enough for a person to get a decent job, provide for themselves and their families. We need to make sure that everyone has access to something beyond high school,” said Ghubril.

So here’s the promise: maintain a 2.5 GPA and a 90% attendance rate, and you’ll qualify for a $5,000-a-year college scholarship for four years.

More than half of these kids are minorities. When they graduate, Pittsburgh companies are interested in hiring.

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“Many companies, many CEOs, talk an awful lot about the importance of adding diversity to their work forces. And our answer to that is the Pittsburgh Promise,” Ghubril said.

The Pittsburgh Promise estimates nearly 70% of their students get their degrees, compared to 50% nationally.

“It’s the way to economic mobility, to health and stability. Our kids are getting a shot at that,” said Ghubril.

So far 3,400 Pittsburgh Promise students have gotten college degrees.

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UPMC contributed $100 million over 10 years, all the city’s foundations contribute and most of Pittsburgh’s major businesses also donate.