The Asbury Park School District, Brookdale Community College and the Jules L. Plangere, Jr. Family Foundation have partnered to launch the “Asbury Park College Promise.”
The program, announced on June 9, offers college scholarships to eligible Asbury Park High School students who complete a comprehensive college readiness program beginning in the 11th grade.
The “last-dollar” scholarships, good for up to 64 credits toward a Brookdale associate degree or certificate, will fund any tuition and fees that are not covered by Pell Grants, state assistance funds or other scholarships.
The Asbury Promise program will also offer students a wide range of academic enrichment courses, career workshops, college preparatory courses and mentorship opportunities designed to help students succeed at the college level and beyond. Parents will also be required to attend orientation sessions.
The program, which begins this September, is funded over the next three years by the Jules L. Plangere, Jr., Family Foundation through a $240,000 grant made to the Brookdale Community College Foundation.
“This program is about hope and opportunity, and supports our vision of ‘Building A Brighter Future’ for our students and community,” said Asbury Park School District Superintendent Lamont Repollet. “We are eternally grateful to the Plangere Foundation for selecting the Asbury Park School District to be the recipient of their generosity.”
Repollet joined Brookdale President Maureen Murphy, state Senator Jennifer Beck (NJ-11), Monmouth County Freeholders Thomas Arnone, John Curley and Serena DiMaso, officials from the college and the school district, and a number of Asbury Park High School students to publicly announce the program at Asbury Park High School on June 9.
“For many of today’s students, the path to a better life starts with a college education,” said Murphy, who called June 9 one of the most important days of her academic career. “This unique program will help local students earn a college degree quicker and more affordably than ever before, and provide them with the tools and confidence they need to continue that success at a four-year college and in their future careers.”
When Jules and Jane Plangere established the Jules L. Plangere, Jr. Family Foundation in 1997, they directed the trustees to work closely with charitable organizations that demonstrate effectiveness in addressing the issues faced by the youth of Asbury Park, said foundation trustee E. Donald Lass, former publisher and editor of the Asbury Park Press and current partner of Press Communications, LLC.
“In our ongoing effort to satisfy this prime directive, the foundation trustees have provided grants for specific programs to the Boy & Girls Club of Monmouth County, Asbury Park High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, Asbury Park Music Foundation, Mercy Center, Salvation Army in Asbury Park and Interfaith Neighbors,” said Lass. “The foundation is pleased to add the grant to the Brookdale Community College Foundation for the ‘Asbury Park College Promise’ and we are confident that this program, added to our other efforts, will provide a benefit for the young people of Asbury Park.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Beck, Arnone, Curley, DiMaso, Plangere Foundation Trustee Jack Conover and Asbury Park Board of Education President Angela Ahbez-Anderson, all of whom spoke of the transformative power of the new partnership.
“This is a team effort,” said Beck, speaking to the gathered officials and students. “It is all of us, working together, that allows our students to achieve. So we are really proud and really excited for what your future holds.”
Following years of challenges for the school district, Smallwood said the Asbury Park College Promise initiative will serve as a ray of hope for students, teachers and administrators alike.
“This is a wonderful day for students to be here in Asbury Park,” said Smallwood. “The doors of opportunity have unlocked, and now they are open. It is up to you to step through that doorway and explore every possibility. Right now, you know that you have purpose. We are investing in you, and we are making things happen so that you can take care of yourself, your family and your community. We are all here because we believe in you, and we support you.”
To learn more about Brookdale’s academic and transfer programs, click here.
View more photos of the Asbury Park College Promise announcement here.