The new Tech Promise is a program providing financially needy students with opportunities to cover all their student costs by giving them a comprehensive package of scholarships, grants and work study opportunities.
Although the promise program is not a full scholarship, it alleviates the recipients of student debts by providing them with opportunities to earn the balance of costs not covered by scholarships such as Hope.
The program was initially introduced last year and is now benefiting over two hundred students.
This first of a kind program in the state of Georgia is the brain child of former president Wayne Clough.
“The cost of attending Tech still prevents some talented students from applying and others from coming after they are accepted. Georgia Tech Promise gives them the opportunity to realize their dream of a Tech degree, and we need to expand this program to other worthy students as we are able to,” Clough said.
“Our goal should be that no academically qualified student will be denied a Georgia Tech education because of parental financial circumstance.”
Due to his assiduously avid and vocal support of the program, it will be later renamed in his honor.
“Through his leadership they were able to launch this program,” said Marie Mons, director of Financial Aid.
She also hopes further publicity of Tech Promise will encourage more high school counselors to direct additional students with diminished financial capability to Tech.
Last year Mons and others at the financial aid office examined approximately 700 possible recipients. After selecting an initial pool of potentials, Mons narrowed it down through further interviews and questioning with the students.
“It was rewarding to meet with so many students and with so great ambitions. Students said this program was what made it possible to come to Tech. They were already admitted and were searching for a way to make the finances work,” Mons said.
Of those, 202 were chosen for the program. One of them is Emily Weigel, third-year BIOL and IAML major.
“Tech Promise is the primary reason I am still in school. Despite getting scholarships and having a job, I still had several thousand dollars of unmet needs. Now, being able to finish college and go on to graduate school is looking like a great possibility,” Wiegel said.
Students hoping to benefit from the program need not fill out any additional applications. The financial aid office gleans potential recipients through information gathered from FAFSA forms.
The requirements for consideration into the program are a minimum of 2.0 GPA and a family income of $33,000 or less, a $3000 increase from last year’s maximum of thirty thousand.
Other stipulations are that the student must be financially dependent and that their family must be eligible to file the regular 104A tax forms. This means the Promise program is intended for use by families without assets or businesses.
“The program is funded through an initiative of the GT Foundation capital campaign. Donors are making donations to fund this program. They are building an endowment to sustain this program,” Mons said.
“Many donors have already embraced this concept. They are creating scholarships funds that over time will become endowed. By creating an endowment you can create a self-sustainable program.”
One such donor, Michael G. Messner, CE ‘76, a partner at Seminole Capital Partners in New York, had his own take own the Tech Promise program.
“Many students today are unable to afford the cost of college without going into extra debt. Through Tech Promise, my wife Jenny and I can help students afford the higher cost of Tech tuition today without the burden of debt,” Messner said.