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Rockford City Council unanimously passes scholarship expansion program

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 10:05 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 10:06 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A program that will offer scholarships and empower students in the forest city makes its way through Rockford City Council in an impressive fashion.

“I’m thrilled this evening that the city of Rockford City Council unanimously approved the location-based scholarship program initiative with Northern Illinois University," Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said.

The route to college has a new path for students in the City of Rockford. Northern Illinois University, Rockford Promise, and the city team up for a program that provides a debt-free educational experience.

“This is one of those times that we actually have that really unique opportunity to impact someone’s life, not just their life but their entire family’s life, probably for generations," McNamara said.

This new program allows Rockford Public School graduates to apply to go to NIU tuition-free as long as they maintain a 3.0-grade point average. As part of the lengthy discussion, alders talked about future expansion of the program that could include some Rockford private school students as well.

“I believe that with private institutions that want to be a part of the program they too should be held to account for the same funding mechanism that Rockford promise has," 9th Ward Alderperson Bill Rose said.

Most members call the program a big win for Rockford and see benefits that reach further than just the classrooms.

“Strengthening and stabilizing our neighborhoods, growing our economy, and increasing public safety,” McNamara said. "Each and every one of these initiatives, at the very core, we know that education impacts each and every one of them.

McNamara says prior to the city council meeting the program already received over 40 applications from eager students.

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