More than 500 Richmond students from 15 schools completed Richmond Promise college scholarship applications this year, a 20-percent increase from the program’s inaugural year in 2016, according to program officials.
Kennedy High tallied the largest number of completed applications with 103, a growth of 51-percent from last year for the school, Richmond Promise College Scholarship Program officials said in a statement.
The deadline for applications was March 10. Moving forward, the Richmond Promise team will work through verifying applications. Students will be notified about their scholarship awards in early May. On May 25, a celebration will be held for Richmond Promise scholars.
The Richmond Promise program provides all Richmond students with up to $1,500 per year to attend a community college or university. In addition to the funds, the scholarship program provides a support system that guides students through the financial aid application process and other obstacles to a college education.
To be eligible for a scholarship, students are required to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application, which can be major obstacles for high school seniors. Through the Richmond Promise program, local students are offered one-on-one guidance in filling out the needed forms.
The Richmond Promise was made possible by a $35 million grant from Chevron, which was part of a $90 million community benefits agreement connected to the upcoming $1 billion modernization of the Richmond Refinery.
The longterm goal of the program is to make it sustainable and to ultimately to inspire a college-going culture in Richmond.
Jessie Stewart, executive director of the Richmond Promise, has been credited by Richmond leadership for the program’s early successes.
This year, Richmond Promise scholars will have access to a new program preparing them for the college experience. The Contra Costa College Summer Bridge and First Year Experience Pathway provides a one-week math intensive along with counseling services to help students transition to college life.