Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tech Promise has Largest Incoming Freshman Class

More than 360 students have benefited from the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise Scholarship Program.  This fall 71 incoming freshmen representing 36 counties  are participating in the program, comprising the largest incoming class in the program’s history.

Launched in 2007, Tech Promise is designed to help academically qualified Georgia students whose families have an annual income of less than $33,300 (150 percent of the federal poverty level) earn their college degree debt-free.  To date, 93 students have graduated from Georgia Tech with the support of the program.

Picking up where Georgia’s HOPE scholarship and other financial aid options leave off, the program is individually tailored for each applicant. Assistance includes scholarships, grants, and job opportunities that allow eligible in-state students to attend Georgia Tech without the burden of student loan debt.

Jillian Wilms, a junior chemical engineering major from Gainesville, Georgia, believes the program has given her opportunities that she may not have had otherwise.

“I am pretty sure I would not have gone to a major university,” said Wilms.  “I meet the same qualifications as every other student. Tech Promise gives me the opportunity to have the same experience and not worry about money, but focus on my education.”

Wilms is also enhancing her experience on campus by conducting 10-12 hours a week of lab research focused on whether bacterial proteins can inhibit certain receptors on cancer cells as part of a work-study assignment available through Tech Promise.

“Overall, the Tech Promise program has filled a very necessary hole that often was a roadblock to students ultimately deciding to come to Georgia Tech,” said Undergraduate Admission Director Rick Clark.  “The program is giving students, like Jillian, the opportunity to have a cohesive four-year experience at Georgia Tech and remain debt free, bringing in students that may not have necessarily have thought Georgia Tech was an option for them.”

Marie Mons, director, of Scholarships and Financial Aid, says the program plays an important role in keeping students on campus.

“If you study hard and get admitted to Georgia Tech and your family is in a situation where you need the Tech Promise program, then we want to make sure we put together a program that will help students not only get to Tech but to graduate,” said Mons.  “The key to the Tech Promise program is not only recruitment, but also retention.”

According to Mons, those interested in the Tech Promise Scholarship Program must first concentrate on being academically prepared.  She’s hoping that news of the program will inspire middle school and high school students who are interested in Georgia Tech to study hard and work on their academics.  The next step is to apply to Georgia Tech.

An annual application is required for Tech Promise, and individual evaluations are conducted to calculate each candidate’s specific financial needs. Students may reapply for up to four academic years (eight semesters) of full-time enrollment. Levels of support/award in subsequent years are based on the student’s family’s financial situation and academic standing. The funding made available through Tech Promise will cover the published cost of attendance at Georgia Tech.

For more information, visit the Tech Promise website at promise.gatech.edu.


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