You can either talk about a problem, or do something about it. Philadelphia is fortunate to have institutions of higher education in this city that know talk is cheap.
Drexel University is the latest to do more than pay lip service to a problem with its announcement last week of a program creating 250 full-tuition scholarships for city high school graduates over the next five years.
Fifty “Liberty Scholars” will be named each year, and their scholarships will be renewable over their college careers if they maintain a 2.75 grade-point average. Tuition and fees average about $36,000 a year at Drexel. That means this initiative will cost the university about $28 million through 2014-15. That’s an investment in the city’s future.
What a great response to Mayor Nutter’s call to double the number of city students who graduate from college. The last census said only 18 percent of city residents had college degrees. Nutter has been enlisting area college presidents to help him change that.
The University of Pennsylvania for many years has awarded full-tuition “mayor’s scholarships” to city students. Temple, St. Joseph’s, and La Salle also have programs to help city students get an education on their campuses.
These efforts can impact the city greatly. College graduates earn more, buy more, and pay more taxes, all of which helps the city improve its fiscal station.