AKRON -- Get good grades, go to college for free. That's the message to students in the Akron Public Schools after district leaders joined University of Akron leaders with a bold new proposal made Wednesday to the Ohio State House.
"This is an innovative way to launch our new Innovation Generation Scholarship," said Dr. Luis M. Proenza, president of The University of Akron, in a prepared statement. "Through this scholarship, we will offer Akron Public School students who have worked hard and performed well in school full tuition to the University."
APS graduates would be eligible for full tuition scholarships if they:
- Have a 3.0 high school GPA and score a 27 on the ACT
- Rank in the 10% of their high school class and score a 26 on the ACT
- Have a 3.5 high school GPA and score a 24 on the ACT
Proenza and Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James appeared together Wednesday before the House Education Committee to ask for support for House Bill 381.
Dubbed the "Innovation Generation Scholarship", the proposal has the potential to bring additional families into Akron to attend the public school district, which has seen enrollment drop in recent years. It also provides an opportunity for inner-city students to attend school full-time rather than part-time to meet the economic demands of tuition, university leaders said.
The scholarship would cover four years of tuition, which is currently about $9,300 per year.
Under the proposed legislation, the plan would require a public school district that is selling a building to offer that property first to a state university. The university could accept the offer and, in exchange, provide the school district with scholarships.
The new legislation would apply directly to Central-Hower High School, which is located next to the campus. The high school was closed several years ago and turned into swing space. The district has considered selling the building off-and-on for several years. Under this new proposal, the University of Akron takes over the building, which will continue to operate as a new STEM High School for APS students.