By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
Birmingham Promise, the apprenticeship and tuition assistance program for city schools students offered by the City of Birmingham, has extended its deadline to apply for the tuition assistance.
High school graduates have until Friday, August 14 to apply.
Once students complete the necessary paperwork, their college or university will be notified and the school will process the financial aid which can be done days after classes start.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Birmingham Promise Executive Director Rachel Harmon announced from City Hall Tuesday the extension saying the goal was “to provide opportunity to our next generation workforce.”
“When a Birmingham city school student graduates there are three roads they can take: college, the military or join the workforce,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “What I’m excited about is that the Birmingham Promise helps with two of those options. The apprenticeship program provides valuable workforce training and… the tuition assistance program provides a last dollar option for students to attend college, covering tuition costs for students when they have been accepted into a post-secondary school.”
A telephone town hall meeting for the program for students and their parents was held Tuesday evening.
The Birmingham Promise scholarship program, open to all BCS students for use at any two or four-year public college in Alabama, began its application process in March.
Woodfin said nearly 690 students are eligible for the Birmingham Promise this fall, which is approximately 50 percent of BCS students who graduated in May.
Of those 690 students, about 250 students who are eligible have not completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) paperwork or they have changed plans since originally reaching out to Birmingham Promise staff.
“We want to let those 250 students know we need your help now. These are students whose plans have changed since we first heard from them,” he said. “We know that COVID-19 has altered some plans and we know that additional information such as the school of choice and FAFSA verification may be needed. We also know that there are students who have not completed this paperwork and the Birmingham Promise has extended its deadline for students to complete their financial aid process.”
Zaria Brewer, a 2020 graduate of Huffman High School and Birmingham Promise scholarship recipient, said she is grateful for the scholarship.
“I am so grateful for the Birmingham Promise and what Mayor Woodfin and others have done to make this scholarship program a reality,” said Brewer. “The Birmingham Promise will cover approximately $5,000 of my college costs at The University of Alabama at Huntsville this fall. I plan to major in psychology and pre-med because I want to be a pediatric psychiatrist.
“For any student who is hesitant to go to college this fall because of COVID-19 and because they have not completed the paperwork on their FAFSA, I want to encourage them to go ahead and finish that paperwork and connect with the Birmingham Promise team this week. They are here to help.”
Students or their parents are encouraged to make an appointment with the Birmingham Promise team by calling 205-843-5967, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.birminghampromise.org.