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AT&T Empowers College Access Program

Left: New Rutgers Future Scholars are welcomed into the program during a ceremony at Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Right: Rutgers Future Scholar Cecilia Salazar, now a student at Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy

AT&T Empowers College Access Program


Recipient: Rutgers Future Scholars 

Gift: More than $1 million since the program’s inception in 2008

What it supports: The Rutgers Future Scholars program annually introduces 215 first-generation, low-income, and academically promising middle school students to the opportunities of a college education. Having served 1,800 students since 2008, the program focuses on middle and high school children in the Rutgers locations of New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, and Camden, as well as in Rahway, New Jersey. Beginning in the summer before their eighth grade year, selected students become part of a unique precollege immersion in rigorous programming, events, support, and mentoring that continues through high school and, eventually, college. All scholars who earn admission to Rutgers receive full tuition funding through scholarships and federal grants.

Why it matters: Rutgers Future Scholars is a model university-community partnership offering hope, opportunity, and higher education to promising students who typically might not be able to attend college. With an average grade-point average of 3.37, 98 percent of participants graduate high school and more than 85 percent of program alumni are currently in college. Studies repeatedly show that individuals with a higher level of education are more economically independent, engaged with their communities, healthier, and less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system, benefiting taxpayers and society overall.

“In addition to being our largest private institutional donor, AT&T has literally opened doors for our high school student scholars via networking events and facility tours,” says Program Director Aramis Gutierrez. “It also hired Rutgers senior and program scholar Jason Gaines for three successive summer internships in New Jersey, Atlanta, and Dallas. The company’s support of our students has been nothing short of phenomenal.”

Cathy Martine, president, national business at AT&T and a longtime Rutgers Future Scholar supporter, says, “Rutgers Future Scholars is a transformational college access program. AT&T’s support reflects our commitment to driving innovation in education, to enabling young students to succeed academically, and to enriching the country’s future talent pipeline.”

Published November 2016

Check out this video about the most recent group of Rutgers Future Scholars students.

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