With 5,200 students benefiting from the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship fund in the last six years and more than $140 million dollars raised toward a $250 million goal, Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril is pleased with the progress.
The numbers were announced as part of the program’s annual report to the community release Wednesday.
“The micro individual impacts we are seeing everyday,” Ghubril said. “I have the great privilege of getting to know hundreds of the thousands of kids who are benefiting from the Promise and hear stories from them and their families.”
Since its inception in 2008, 5,200 Pittsburgh Public School graduates have received some level of grant from the program. 1,100 of the grantees have completed a four-year degree, and Ghubril said of those graduates, 800 have found jobs in the city.
But Ghubril admits it is harder to see the impacts being made on the larger scale.
“The systems level change takes a while and the systems don’t budge very fluidly and very easily,” Ghubril said.
Ghubril does like to point out that the population declines in the city have stopped and the graduation rates among high school students has increased since 2008 from 65 percent to 71 percent. For white students, graduation rates have held steady in the upper 70s, but among African American students, the graduation rate increased from 57 percent to 65 percent.
“We’re not delighted that white kids are not performing any better than they were, but we are delighted that there is growth on the performance side of our black kids,” Ghubril said.
To date, 75 percent of the grants have been used at four-year colleges and universities, and 20 percent have been used at two-year schools. The remaining five percent were used to help fund attendance at tech schools. Ghubril estimates that about half of the students using the funds at two-year programs are pursuing trade and technical education.
Stability in the program’s future has been growing as fund raising approaches the $250,000 goal. Ghubril said he is “absolutely confident” that he can honor the promise for every student currently enrolled in school, but his goal is to make it available for the next two or three generations of Pittsburgh Public School students.