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The Octavius Catto scholarship will be available to students in Spring 2021. Photo: CCP
The Octavius Catto scholarship will be available to students in Spring 2021. Photo: CCP

Philadelphia, CCP partner for a scholarship to make tuition free

The Octavius Catto scholarship is projected to help up to 4,500 students over the next five years.

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At long last, it looks as though the Community College of Philadelphia is getting some of the city support it needs to help more students from the city gain access to higher education.

It comes in the form of the Octavius Catto scholarship, and is a collaboration between the Community College of Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia to provide funding for students living in poverty to overcome costs associated with tuition, food, transportation to school, and books.

The funding platform is known as “the last dollar” model and provides the outstanding tuition balance once all federal and state scholarships and grants are applied.

Tuition can be free for up to three years, and students will also receive up to $1,500 for food, books and other costs impeding their education.

Beyond funding, students will also be guided by career coaches and advisors to help them stay on track, and be connected with any other resource to cater to their needs such as affordable housing or childcare.

For both school and city leaders, the scholarship is a vital tool to expand access to education to more Philadelphians regardless of their income.

“We know that education can transform lives, and that having a postsecondary credential is increasingly important for students to find family-sustaining employment,” said CCP President Dr. Donald Generals.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must:

  1. Be a Philadelphia resident for at least 12 months
  2. Have a high school diploma or GED from any Philadelphia high school (public, private, charter, or parochial)
  3. Attend the Community College of Philadelphia full time
  4. Complete an annual FAFSA
  5. Enter college-ready or below college ready in both Math and English

To remain eligible for the scholarship throughout the process, students must keep a 2.0 GPA, an updated FAFSA, remain a Philadelphia resident, and meet two credit milestones at the end of the first (20) and second (42) years.

Octavius Catto was an educator and civil rights activist from Philadelphia, who was a free Black man during the Civil War. He fought for the Union Army as part of one of Pennsylvania’s first volunteer regiments. Catto died on Election Day in 1871, after being shot by a white man attempting to intimidate Black voters at the polls.

Over five years, the City of Philadelphia projects to invest $47.4 million into the scholarship program with hopes to help up to 4,500 students.

The first scholarships will go out for the Spring 2021 semester. More information can be found on CCP’s dedicated web page.

 

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations, focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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