Pennsylvania: Charter Pupils Get $100,000 Scholarships To Widener U.

"Widener University announced that it would award $100,000 scholarships to every eighth-grade student who graduates from Widener Partnership Charter School in Chester," The Philadelphia Inquirer reports

"Educational experts say such incentive programs are becoming more popular around the country.

Widener University president James T. Harris III said he planned to tell students formally about the college awards on Thursday at graduation.

The university board of trustees had been discussing how to encourage students at the school, which Widener University founded in 2006, to attend college.

'We wanted to give them hope that they could get a college education,' said Harris, adding that many students likely would qualify for even more financial aid. Widener plans to give future classes the same gift.

The cost to the college won't be known until officials know how many students take advantage of the offer, a spokesman said. The program will be funded through the university's endowment. ...

Similar programs have been cropping up around the nation. Clark University in Massachusetts provides financial aid to graduates of its charter high school. And Pittsburgh Promise gives students who attend public schools from ninth grade on scholarships worth up to $40,000 when they graduate if their GPAs are at least 2.5 and they have good attendance records.

'The earlier the better,' Jesse O'Connell, a spokesman for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said about awarding scholarships to eighth graders. 'It kind of gets them thinking that college is possible and finances aren't a barrier.'"

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