The recent 2014 First Year Experience (FYE) workshop offered a series of workshops for our new students entering college for the first time. We focused on important aspects of the college going process and giving students tips and tricks for handling common campus problems. This workshop is required for all new students that will be receiving the Last Dollar Scholarship for the first time. Check out scenes from the exciting day.
The 7th annual Score 4 Scholarships tournament on Sunday was a great success. The turnout was excellent, and the Scholars Program was even able to bring students to enjoy the event. Here, see the first batch of photos from our awesome photographer. More to come very soon! Thank you to all who made this event such a great success! See all the photos we've received so far here.
The Philadelphia Education Fund is almost ready for the annual Scholars basketball fundraiser: Score 4 Scholarships! Join us on April 28 from 9AM to 4PM to watch some quality basketball and help to raise money to send our Philadelphia Scholars to college this year. As a spectator, you can purchase your $5 tickets at the door on the morning of the event. We look forward to seeing you there.
Our sponsor list thusfar includes Presenting Sponsor Shire, Slam Dunk Sponsors Good Apple, McKinsey, Fox Rothschild, Comcast, and Fast Break Sponsors Evoke Interaction, Digitas Health, IBM, Pepper Hamilton, and Pennoni. A big thanks to all of our supporters!
Between the news of celebrity commencement addresses and the sight of graduation caps soaring, it’s the time of year to acknowledge the hard work and perseverance of students who are reaching this pivotal moment in their lives. Throughout the month of May, thousands of Philadelphia’s sons and daughters are cloaking themselves in colored gowns and walking with pride, hope and not a small amount of trepidation about their futures.
To be sure, most of us remember a time when a college degree promised a certain level of financial freedom. Not necessarily so today. Our new grads are entering a workforce in a country where student loan debt has, for the first time, exceeded credit card debt. In fact, the Department of Education is reporting that 94 percent of students who earn a bachelor’s degree borrow to pay for higher education — up from 45 percent in 1993.
One of the main drivers of this increase is the steady drop in state financing of higher education. Sadly, when it comes to the long-term impact on a person’s future, the student loan burden can dictate a life path for some that forces deferment of savings, home buying and building a family.
The American Council on Education recently released a report, Putting College Costs in Context. It noted that while the majority of college students are enrolled in community and four-year colleges where average tuition is $3,000 and $8,000 respectively, a degree from some private nonprofit schools can equal the price of a home. These numbers, however, do not include room, board, books, and other living expenses.
That's where the Philadelphia Education Fund's Philadelphia Scholars program comes in. The fundamental goal of the program is to help ease the increasingly heavy burden of acquiring a college degree by providing critical funds for tuition, books and other college expenses. Tiffany Flippen is one of our Philadelphia Scholars alumna. She is a graduate of University City High School, a member of Villanova University’s class of 2009, and a local homeowner.
“The scholarship allowed me to make studying my primary focus so I could maintain the highest GPA possible and set my career goals instead of deciding whether or not I could afford to be there the next semester,” Flippen said.
Over 1,900 students from Philadelphia public high schools just like Tiffany have utilized the Philadelphia Scholars “last dollar” college scholarship to achieve their college education.
“Education opens doors for you,” Flippen said. “I’m an accountant now, I’m 24, I own my own house, I’m working toward owning my car and I can provide for myself because I went and got myself an education.”
The Philadelphia Scholars Program and its generous benefactors continue to do their part to ensure that students like Tiffany have an opportunity to maximize their education and career options.
However, solutions to this national problem require more than a scholarship fund. Naturally, families must make appropriate decisions about their ability to handle debt. States should consider more carefully the long-term impact of decreased support for higher education. Banks can do more to educate students and the community at-large about the loans they make. Colleges and universities can and should continue to find creative ways to be competitive while at the same time helping more students graduate loan free.
If you'd like to make a donation to the Philadelphia Scholars program, please visit www.philaedfund.org/give or contact:
Senior Development Officer
If you'd like to learn more about the program and the scholarships, please contact:
Tamanna Sultana has dreamed of becoming a doctor for as long as she can remember. Now a senior chemistry major at Temple University, she is on track to achieving her lifelong goal as she graduates in December 2011 and begins applying to medical school. She is a mentor and teacher to others, a Philadelphia Scholar and our 2011 Rising Star EDDY Award Winner.
Tamanna moved to Philadelphia from Bangladesh with her family in 2005 and started at University City High School as a sophomore. “All of my teachers shaped me,” Tamanna said, explaining how her high school teachers often stayed after school to help and encouraged her to ask questions.
The support she received from the Philadelphia Education Fund’s College Access Program helped her on her pathway to college. After graduating high school as Class Valedictorian in 2008, Tamanna worked closely with her College Access Coordinator, Tanjanesia Willoughby (née Jackson), who helped her apply for the Last Dollar Scholarship from the Philadelphia Scholars Program. “I had already graduated from high school and Ms. Jackson told me to come by any time during the summer for help with my application. She was extremely sweet and helpful!” Tamanna said.
All of this gave her the confidence to become an advisor and teacher to other students when she got to college. Mentoring, tutoring and motivating others have been second nature to Tamanna. She tutors her collegiate peers in chemistry and calculus, and helps mentor incoming freshmen at Temple. Additionally, she works with high school students in Temple’s Upward Bound Program during the school year and even spent a summer living on campus with the students in the program to serve as a mentor.
Her academic achievements have earned her a membership in the Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, and the Dr. Valaida Walker Award for leadership and dedicated service to others.
“My advice to students transitioning from high school to college is to be proactive, seek help, don’t be shy! Use as many resources as possible and ask lots of questions,” Tamanna said.
We will honor Tamanna’s successes and achievements at our 2011 EDDY Awards.
Nine Philadelphia Scholars boarded a bus to Shire Pharmaceuticals’ Chesterbrook site on Thursday, July 21, 2011 to meet their new mentors. These nine students are part of a group of 12 Scholars starting their sophomore year of college who have been paired with 12 Shire employees in the newly launched “Philadelphia Education Fund & Shire Mentoring Program.”
The pairs met at the kick-off Meet and Greet event, which started off with ice-breaker activities and focused on establishing rapport and building relationships within each mentor/mentee pair. They were matched with each other based on characteristics such as gender, interests and college major.
This pilot program for both the Ed Fund and Shire Pharmaceuticals came about when Ed Fund Board Treasurer David Baker, vice president of strategic commercialization at Shire Pharmaceuticals, wanted his company to be more directly involved with the Scholars program. The Mentoring Program aims to increase college retention
and graduation rates for Scholars and help them prepare for careers after college.
“We want mentees to walk away with a lasting relationship. This might be the first positive relationship with an adult for some of them,” said Vaneeda Days, scholarship coordinator for the Philadelphia Scholars Program.
The 12 selected Shire mentors met the qualifications set forth by the Scholars Program, which included having the sincere desire to be personally involved with a college student and help him/her to achieve academic and personal goals; having the ability to openly and non-judgmentally communicate with college-aged youth; and having practical problem-solving skills. All mentors came together for a 3-hour training event on Wednesday, June 29 to discuss the benefits of mentoring and the qualities of an effective and successful mentor.
From a pool of 289 Scholars, 12 were selected for the pilot cohort who had expressed an interest in being mentored on their scholarship application form.
Mentors and mentees are encouraged to maintain frequent communication throughout the school year through phone or e-mail. There will be a winter get-together event for all mentor/mentee pairs and a final event to close out the school year.
While starting off with a small cohort, the program aims to grow, develop and advance after this pilot year.
On Sunday, we had an exciting day of basketball games at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic Palestra Gymnasium. The tournament ended with a nail-biting championship game played by Fox Rothschild and the Visiting Nurse Group. Fox Rothschild won in the last minute of play. Congratulations to Fox Rothschild and to all of our players!
In between games, players and spectators heard the inspiring stories of several students. Ashley Moore, a current Scholar, thanked the players, noting that their participation “really makes a difference.” The Philadelphia Scholars Program awards college scholarships, renewable up to six years, to graduates of Philadelphia public high schools.
Thank you to our 2011 tournament sponsors: Comcast, Fox Rothschild, Pepper Hamilton LLP, Vetri Foundation for Children, Morgan Stanley, Osteria, University of Pennsylvania Athletics, and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals. A special shout-out to the event’s many volunteers, including our wonderful referees, who made sure that participants and spectators had an enjoyable experience.
We also send a special thanks to Marc Vetri, Jeff Michaud, and Jeff Benjamin who graciously opened the doors of their acclaimed restaurant, Osteria, to us on Monday evening following the tournament. At Osteria, Kareem Edwards, a Scholars alum who is now a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia, announced, “I am going to donate tonight. I hope all of you will as well.”
Later in the evening, Karen Stokes of the Philadelphia Education Fund announced an anonymous matching gift of $25,000 to the Philadelphia Scholars Program. Help us meet the match by donating today!
For more information about the Philadelphia Scholars Program and how you can help support tomorrow’s leaders, please contact Karen Stokes, Senior Development Officer, at 215-665-1400 ext. 3329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The third and final student featured in the Philadelphia Tribune’s three-part series about the Ed Fund and its impact on local students is Xavier Brown.
Xavier is a 2010 graduate of Paul Robeson High School and a 2010 Gates Millennium Scholar. Xavier credits Gisell James, his former College Access Coordinator, with helping him prepare for the SATs, fill-out college applications, and complete the financial aid processes, which included the Gates Millennium Scholarship application. “She helped me go above and beyond,” Xavier said. “People struggle to go above and beyond.
Today, Xavier attends Eastern University, is considering pursuing a career in physical therapy, sports medicine or psychology.
The second student featured in the Philadelphia Tribune’s three-part series about the Ed Fund and its impact on local students is Shanee Garner.
Shanee is a 2003 graduate of West Philadelphia High School and a 2007 graduate of Chestnut Hill College. Shanee credits the College Access and Philadelphia Scholars programs with helping her secure the funds she needed to attend college. "I always knew that I would go to college but I didn’t know how I would get there," Shanee said. "The College Access Center bridged that gap."
Today, Shanee works as a teacher at Kensington Urban Education Academy and encourages her students to work hard and seek out resources to make college a reality.
For his demonstration of academic promise and civic leadership, Mohamed Kakay (pictured below, right), is the recipient of the 2010 Rising Star EDDY Award. The Rising Star EDDY is awarded annually to a college student in the College Access/Philadelphia Scholars program whose success exemplifies the unlimited potential of Philadelphia's youth.
Mohamed is a senior at Widener University and a graduate of University City High School. Mohamed was born in Sierra Leone and came to the United States as an adolescent. Although he struggled with a language barrier and the absence of his family’s support, Mohamed remained diligent and relied on his will and determination to find opportunities and resources, including the College Access Program and the Philadelphia Scholars Program.
Today, Mohamed prepares to graduate from Widener University with a minor in French and a triple major in Sociology, Government Politics, and International Relations.
Mohamed received his award, along with the other 2010 Stars of Public Education, during the Ed Fund's 2010 EDDY Awards, on November 16th. While presenting the Rising Star EDDY, Leroy Nunery, School District of Philadelphia Deputy Superintendent (pictured left) referred to Mohamed as "Superman in Waiting," praising his ambitious academic goals and civic responsibilities.
During his remarks, Mohamed thanked his parents and family, and Lai Har Cheung, his College Access Coordinator, who "has given me so much guidance. I would not have been able to navigate the college process without her dedication and support."