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'A game-changer': Waterbury partners with UConn to give scholarships to students seeking higher education

Waterbury Promise also created a financial aid partnership with the University of Connecticut, in which scholars will receive $5,000 per year attending UConn.

WATERBURY, Conn. — To alleviate financial barriers that come with pursuing higher education, The City of Waterbury and the Waterbury Board of Education launched Waterbury Promise. It's a grant awarded to high-performing students who live in the Brass City and want to pursue higher education in Connecticut.

"It's a game-changer, but most importantly, it's a life-changer," said Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O'Leary.

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Waterbury Promise also created a financial aid partnership with the University of Connecticut, in which scholars will receive $5,000 per year attending UConn.

"Tuition this year to come to UConn is $15,030 so, the $5,000 from UConn, of course, takes care of a third of that," said Nathan Fuerst, Vice President of Enrollment, UConn.

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The Waterbury Promise Program will give $1,250 for the first-class scholars of students who will graduate from high school this year and attend the University of Connecticut. Fuerst said that number will go up every year for classes after that.

With 19,000 students currently in the Waterbury school district and many coming from diverse, first-generation homes, school and city officials said it'll close gaps for marginalized communities.

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"This promise program is absolutely a game-changer," said Geraldo Reyes. "That will give communities of color and people that look like me an opportunity to go and further their education and actually be able to climb the food chain as we see it here in America."

For more information on Waterbury Promise, click here.

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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