NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -- A program in New Haven designed to make college more affordable is expanding.

On Wednesday, New Haven Promise and Quinnipiac University announced a new scholarship agreement.

Starting in the next school year, New Haven Promise scholars enrolled at Quinnipiac will receive a minimum of $25,000 a year toward their tuition.

The offer is open to all New Haven high schoolers who meet the Promise requirements while in high school, including a “B” average, attendance requirements and 40 hours of community service.

“We’re incredibly grateful to New Haven Promise for inspiring us to create this partnership that offers access to deserving students who might not otherwise be able to afford QU,” said Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian.

This isn’t the first time Quinnipiac has done something like this.

The president said they have a similar program for high schoolers in Hamden and North Haven where their two campuses are located.

Also, for the New Haven Promise scholars, this program closes the opportunity gap, many first-generation college students who wouldn’t have this opportunity without.

“It’s an opportunity, they ensure that their students have a chance,” said Deni Sifuentes, a Quinnipiac graduate.

She is the first in her family to go to college, and said being a New Haven Promise scholar made it all possible.

“I’m paving the way for my cousins, my siblings who are still in middle school,” Sifuentes said.

Siblings who will have the chance to follow in her footsteps and benefit even more, thanks to an expanded scholarship agreement.

New Haven Promise said since 2010, 17 of its scholars have earned bachelor’s degrees from Quinnipiac, and they expect the number of those enrolling to go up.

Patricia Melton, who heads up New Haven Promise, says partnerships like this, close the opportunity gap while also helping lower the amount of student they’ll carry.

She added that Connecticut already has the highest level of college debt in the nation.

“Families are really looking for value and they haven’t given up on the American dream, but they certainly need a better solution than it has to come out of their retirement, it has to come from a second mortgage on the home,” Melton said.

Quinnipiac joins Southern Connecticut State University, Albertus Magnus, UConn and Eastern Connecticut State University as schools with scholarship agreements with New Haven Promise.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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