William H. Pitt Foundation grant to help Bridgeport multicultural students attend Fairfield University

The William H. Pitt Foundation has awarded Fairfield University $40,000 for its Community Partnership Scholars Program that helps inner-city, multicultural students attend Fairfield University. Under the terms of the gift, the William H. Pitt Foundation will provide Fairfield with an annual gift of $20,000, providing $5,000 each to four Bridgeport high school students from Bassick, Central, Harding and Kolbe-Cathedral High Schools who qualify to attend Fairfield University.

The Community Partnership Scholars Program was established at Fairfield University in 1999 in response to the rising need for financial aid by qualified undergraduates. The University has made a commitment to annually award full-tuition scholarships and a personal computer to one Community Partnership Scholar from each of the partner high schools in the program.

Managed by the Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid, the program also provides visits by admissions counselors, campus tours and on-going advisement that assists and encourages students at the four Bridgeport schools as well as six other high schools in New York City. When fully implemented in 2004, the program will include partnerships with 18 high schools in economically disadvantaged areas that have a track record of preparing their students for post-secondary academic success.

Rev. Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., university president, has made securing funds to meet the financial needs of AHANA students a hallmark of his administration at Fairfield. "We are very grateful to have the support of the William H. Pitt Foundation for this important program," he said. "This kind of selfless generosity can truly bring about life-changing opportunities for inner-city students who work hard academically but don't have the financial means to extend their education beyond high school."

Beginning this year, the Community Partnership Scholars will be asked to complete a service component as part of the program by taking part in the partner school visitation program. In addition, Fairfield's Admission Department will sponsor a sophomore award program to honor community service among academically successful sophomore students in the partner schools.

Noel Appel, director of foundation relations at Fairfield, noted that since 1984, the university has increased by 500 percent the amount it allocates for scholarships and financial aid, not including athletic grants-in-aid. "Nationally, the number of students from low-income backgrounds who are prepared to undertake the rigors of a college education are growing. Their inability to do so holds serious societal implications, which is why this program is so important."

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 15, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 50

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