Pittsburgh Public Schools scholarship program to end

PITTSBURGH — For almost two decades, when Pittsburgh families enrolled their students in public elementary schools, their student was given a promise, the Pittsburgh Promise, a guaranteed scholarship for any PPS student with a GPA of 2.5 and higher. But now that is coming to an end.

“I was shocked, I was surprised, sad,” said parent April Clisura.

April Clisura’s daughter is in fourth grade and will graduate high school in 2031, which means she won’t be eligible for the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship.

“I’ve actually told my daughter about the [Pittsburgh] Promise, and I told her it means the city is investing in kids trying to make things fairer and more equitable for kids to have easier access to college,” she explained.

This week, parents like Clisura began receiving this letter from the scholarship program that stated the last promise class will be in 2028. Due to funding, the program is no longer sustainable.

“This was not the time to step back on something like the Pittsburgh Promise. This is our workforce,” Clisura said.

The letter marked the end of a scholarship program that has helped almost 12,000 students attend college and helped roughly 700 businesses with local talent.

Today we spoke with the program’s executive director Saleem Ghubril.

“It’s heartbreaking that it can’t be sustained the way we have done it so far,” said Executive Director Saleem Ghubril.

Ghubril is confident they will raise the $11 million to fund through the class of 2028 but said he is now looking to public officials to help make local colleges more affordable.

“We are hoping that our public officials will have a conversation about some policy solutions,” Ghubril said.

“I truly believe if we don’t replace this with something else it might keep some people from going to college,” Clisura said.

Channel 11 News spoke with Council Member Bobby Wilson who said he and the council are open to hearing any ideas that the foundation may have.

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