Pittsburgh Promise Applicant Families Eligible for Help in Completing United Way and NEED Partner with Pittsburgh Public Schools
Tax Preparation and Federal Financial Aid Forms
to Enhance College Application and Promise Scholarship Process
Pittsburgh Promise Applicant Families Eligible for Help in Completing
United Way and NEED Partner with Pittsburgh Public Schools
PITTSBURGH, January 20, 2010 – The Pittsburgh Promise, in conjunction with the United Way of Allegheny County and NEED, have initiated a new program to assist city high school students applying for Promise scholarships - and their families - with free tax preparation and help completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.
These services will be offered free to families with incomes of less than $52,000 and who have children currently enrolled in their junior or senior years in Pittsburgh Public Schools or city charter schools. Through existing programs by the United Way and NEED, trained volunteers will assist eligible families in completing these necessary forms in time for processing Promise scholarship applications. NEED has long assisted eligible families to complete the FAFSA student aid forms. The Promise requires completion of both FAFSA and the Federal Income Tax Return forms with its scholarship application.
"Last year, volunteers trained by the United Way returned more than $6.2 million in tax returns to low income families in Allegheny County. This project is a logical extension of that work and we are very excited about it," said Robert Nelkin, United Way’s President and Chief Professional Officer.
"I'm encouraged by the new seamless innovation with this program that hopefully will increase the number of parents filing their tax returns and assisting with completing their child’s FAFSA," said Sylvester Pace, President and CEO of NEED.
"This is a helpful benefit to prospective Promise scholarship applicants and their families as they seek funding for education beyond high school," said Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director of The Pittsburgh Promise. "In addition to providing relief from the cost of tax preparation, this program is intended to eliminate any barrier to understanding and timing in completing the federal student aid form and determining eligibility for Promise scholarships," added Ghubril.
In an effort to accommodate family schedules to participate in this free program, each of the workshop sessions will take place on Saturdays at different city school locations throughout February, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as follows:
Saturday, February 6, 2010 10am-3pm Pittsburgh Allegheny K-5
Saturday, February 13, 2010 10am-3pm Pittsburgh Langley
Saturday, February 20, 2010 10am-3pm Pittsburgh IB at the Reizenstein facility
Saturday, February 27, 2010 10am-3pm Pittsburgh Carrick
Post card reminders will be mailed to student/family homes later this month announcing dates, times and locations of these preparation sessions. For more information about this free tax and financial aid preparation program, please visit www.eitcpgh.org or call United Way HelpLine at (412) 255-1155.
About The Pittsburgh Promise
The primary purpose of The Pittsburgh Promise is to help strengthen the economic future of our community, the quality of urban public school education and the future workforce for the region. The Pittsburgh Promise program was established at The Pittsburgh Foundation in December 2007 with a $100 million commitment from UPMC, including $20 million to support city school graduates from the classes of 2008 and 2009. The remaining $80 million is a challenge grant ($10 million a year for eight years), intended to spur support and contributions from all sections of the community to raise an additional $120 million ($15 million annually for eight years). The region’s foundation community has also made various multi-year commitments to support this scholarship fund as a key regional economic development initiative. (www.pittsburghpromise.org)
NEED is designated as an Education Improvement Organization (EIO) through Pennsylvania’s Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and, as a college access program, offers grants, scholarships, mentoring, counseling and internships to help underrepresented, low-income and first-generational youth in college and career opportunities and options. Since its inception in 1963, NEED has supported approximately 19,000 deserving youth by providing over $19 million in grant allocations. These grants have helped to empower Pittsburgh’s and the region’s next generation of leaders and to overcome financial, social status, educational and cultural barriers. (www.needld.org)
About the United Way of Allegheny County
The United Way of Allegheny County is a change agent and efficient community fundraiser that improves lives by addressing critical community needs. By convening diverse partners and investing in programs and people to advance solutions, United Way creates long-lasting change and helps children and youth succeed, strengthens and supports families by promoting financial stability, ensures the safety and well-being of vulnerable seniors, and provides county-wide access to information and referral sources meeting basic needs. www.unitedwaypittsburgh.org.