SF students receive $400,000 for college

April 16, 2009 7:46:06 PM PDT
San Francisco middle school students heard about a plan from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to get kids like themselves into college. Underserved students interested in college now have a promise.

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Joseph Malapeai is a 6th grader at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Middle School. He's got college on his mind.

"For me, going to college is building my life, a structure. It's like a wall of pillars to fall on when times get rough," said Malapeai.

"Are you ready to make the commitment? Are you ready?" asked Speaker Pelosi.

Thursday, Speaker Pelosi presented $400,000 from the federal government to help support a program called San Francisco Promise. The program guarantees students of San Francisco public schools access to San Francisco State University. Their tuition would be paid for by grants and scholarships.

A $2 million fund has also been established by San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan.

"You are going to graduate from high school and you are going to go to the university and you are going to be part of the San Francisco State class of 2019," said Corrigan.

San Francisco Promise helps students stay on track for college beginning in the 6th grade.

"They are low-income students, first in their families to go to college and for the most part, they haven't been thinking themselves of seeing themselves in college, so we are trying to change that," said Maureen Carew with San Francisco Promise.

By knowing the money is there, guaranteed, it plants a seed in their minds that college is possible despite their financial situation.

"It changes the dynamic that money will not matter, that talent and achievement and doing your homework and all of the things that children are supposed to do when they are in school will matter," said Speaker Pelosi.

Joseph is now thinking of someday earning a Ph.D.

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