The College Series Pt. 6: The Pittsburgh Promise


Pittsburgh Promise Ambassadors Daevan Mangalmurti and Dominic Victoria speaking to Senior Sophia Margittai | Photo credit: Ashley Hayes

Daevan Mangalmurti, Editor

Editor’s Note: Class of 2020 Seniors can now register for The Promise via the Pittsburgh Promise Portal. The username and password required to log in have been sent out in the mail but can also be asked for from Ms. Stewart. If you’re a Senior and want to log in to your Promise account, click here. Pittsburgh Promise Ambassadors will also be available to help during Senior lunch the week of 10/14. 

The best idea in recent Pittsburgh educational history came, of all places, from Kalamazoo, Michigan. In 2005, civic leaders in Kalamazoo created the Kalamazoo Promise, a program paying all tuition for students attending one of Michigan’s public universities and community colleges. Educators in Pittsburgh took note, and the PPS graduating class of 2008 was the first to receive $5,000 per year for tuition and fees at any school brick-and-mortar school in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Promise has grown and changed over the years, but the core mission of making college more affordable for students and encouraging more students to stay in Pennsylvania remains the same. Here’s what you need to know about The Promise today. 

There are four requirements to be eligible for The Promise: 

  1. Live in the City of Pittsburgh, Mt. Oliver Boro, or Wilkinsburg from the first day of 9th grade to the last day of 12th grade. 
  2. Attend a Pittsburgh Public Schools public high school or charter high school from the first day of 9th grade to the last day of 12th grade. 
  3. Have 90% cumulative attendance during high school (excused absences do not count against you). 
  4. Maintain a cumulative unweighted GPA of 2.5 or more during high school. 

If you meet these four requirements and attend any Pell-eligible (accepting the federal government’s need-based Pell Grants) accredited brick-and-mortar school in Pennsylvania, you could receive up to $5,000 per year to be used on tuition, fees, room, and board. You’ll need to complete the FAFSA and send it to The Promise to ensure that you receive your money. 

If you’re not planning on going to school in Pennsylvania but are Promise-eligible and want to use your funds, you may be able to use that money to take dual-enrollment classes at CCAC or take summer classes at schools in Pennsylvania. 

If you’re not Promise-eligible because your GPA is below 2.5, but it’s higher than 2.0, you can apply to join the CCAC Extension program, where you’ll become Promise-eligible if you complete 18 credits and maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA over the course of a year at CCAC. 

In addition to the $5,000 provided by The Promise, there are 33 schools that offer an additional $2,000 to $5,000 for room and board to Promise students. These are the Promise’s Preferred College Partners. 

In order to continue receiving funds from The Promise during college, it’s necessary to maintain a 2.0 or higher GPA and earn 24 credits or more per year. Promise funds are only reserved for students for four years from graduation (unless you’re entering the military), so you’ll need to use them within that time. 

If you’re a Senior and want to log in to your Promise account, click here. This’ll also help the Obama Class of 2020 raise money- The Promise awards the school that registers all its Seniors fastest $1,000.