UNH Launches “Charge into the Future” Initiative for West Haven Students
UNH Launches “Charge into the Future” Initiative for West Haven Students

by Karen Grava
Director of Media Relations

UNH announced last week a partnership with West Haven Public Schools that will provide half-tuition scholarships to high school seniors as well as college preparation programs for middle school and high school students.

The partnership, called the “Charge into the Future” program, will provide a half-tuition scholarship for any student graduating from West Haven High School who is admitted as a full-time student to UNH beginning next fall.

“I applaud the University of New Haven for introducing an innovative new program that will open the door to higher education for so many students,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “We know that getting a college degree is critical to preparing students for good jobs with good benefits—and helping to ensure bright futures in the new economy.”

Last week, UNH announced a partnership with the West Haven school district that provides half-tuition scholarships to high school seniors.

Governor Malloy told the students that his own father had to leave school in eighth grade and that he himself struggled with learning disabilities. He said that even by his junior year in high school, he didn’t have a vision for his future. But then, he said, school got better. He went on to college and law school; he became a prosecutor, a mayor and a governor.

“All of this was made possible because my father, who never went to college but made sure all eight of his children went to college,” he said. He urged West Haven High students to take advantage of all aspects of the partnership, as “only a fraction of American students” will have such an opportunity. “Spend the time, the energy; recreate yourself in a different vision,” he said.

The announcement at West Haven High School also featured Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

“The connection between earning a college degree and the ability to get a quality job has never been as important as it is today,” Wyman said. “With this scholarship program, the University of New Haven is ensuring that more of our students will be better prepared to attend college and to graduate with the skills needed in this challenging job market.” 

The UNH scholarships, which include need- and merit-based awards, will be offered to students in addition to any federal, state or externally funded awards for which they may qualify.

“We would like this program to serve as a major incentive to West Haven students – from middle school right through high school – to strive to attend college,” said President Steve Kaplan. “It is an example of UNH giving back to the local community and providing them the opportunity to take advantage of our high-quality academic programs.”

The “Charge into the Future” program also will allow juniors and seniors enrolled at West Haven High School to take college-level courses at the University at no charge on a space-available basis.  Students can enroll in up to two classes per year, which will provide them a jump start on their college education even if they don’t enroll at UNH.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students, and we are thrilled to partner with our neighbors from the University of New Haven in this venture,” West Haven Superintendent Neil Cavallaro said.  “This program will allow them and their families to dream big and believe that something they once thought may have been impossible is now achievable: a four-year college degree from an outstanding institution with a reputation for excellence.”

“The city of West Haven remains committed to strengthening its friendship and partnership with the University of New Haven,” Mayor John M. Picard ’87 said. “This important scholarship initiative reflects UNH’s unwavering pledge to reinvest in our community and in our young people. This model program will afford West Haven students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to seek higher education at their hometown university and will add another proud chapter to the longstanding relationship of good will between town and gown.”

UNH also will help high school students prepare for college by providing juniors and seniors free information sessions on the college admissions process and applying for financial aid. In addition, the program will provide support for eighth- and ninth-graders by offering a summer day camp to prepare them for college-level work and admission to college. 

The University also will explore creating academic partnerships with the West Haven Public Schools to offer promising high school students opportunities to participate in college-level extracurricular activities such as drama and theater workshops, writing and poetry workshops, engineering projects and competitions and math competitions.

“The ‘Charge into the Future’ program is very comprehensive,” said Kaplan. “It will help motivate students for college success and prepare them to be future leaders.”

Brenda Calderon, a WHHS senior who has been accepted to UNH for the fall, said she is pleased the program is offered.

“The partnership with the University of New Haven will alleviate many of our educational insecurities,” she said. “Free classes and half-tuition scholarships speak for themselves, and in many ways, will impact our education as public high school students.”

View a photo gallery from the event.

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