Duquesne signs on to further city’s Promise

Megan Klinefleter | Staff Photographer
Des Place Hall and other residence halls will be home to PGH Promise recepients.
Megan Klinefleter | Staff Photographer
Des Place Hall and other residence halls will be home to PGH Promise recipients.

Hallie Lauer | Layout Editor


Duquesne has become one of 19 institutes of higher education in Pennsylvania that has partnered with the Pittsburgh Promise program to cover the cost of room and board for the recipients of the program.

The Pittsburgh Promise is an organization dedicated to helping improve enrollment and graduation rates in Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) while helping urban students become prepared to enter college or the workforce.

Part of its vision is to also create “a city at the core of a strong region whose neighborhoods are vibrant, inclusive and attractive to young and senior people, as well as businesses small and large,” according to its website.

This program has helped to raise the graduation rates in Pittsburgh Public Schools from 63 percent to 74 percent. The number of those graduates that enroll in postsecondary education in two years since their graduation has also risen from 58 percent to 68 percent. They do this by receiving donations from corporations, individuals and foundations, as well as partnering with schools such as Duquesne.

The Pittsburgh Promise has a subdivision of its organization called the Preferred College Program. This program helps students get into colleges they would not otherwise be able to afford.

“This Preferred College Partners Program is a more formal recognition of the value of the academic support services that we provide all of our students already,” said Paul-James Cukanna, the vice president for enrollment management at Duquesne. “When we met recently with Promise representatives, they indicated that they were impressed by Duquesne’s level of support and services.”

The vision that the Pittsburgh Promise has to better the community aligns well with Duquesne’s mission, according to Cukanna.

“Duquesne is a part of the city of Pittsburgh, and this is a way to support city residents and Pittsburgh Public Schools,” said Cukanna. “Since its inception, more than 90 percent of The Pittsburgh Promise students supported in this program have been from low- or moderate-income families.”

According to Pittsburgh Promise’s website, since its beginning they have helped over 7,000 students from the Pittsburgh area graduate high school and move onto higher education. They have also given over $103 million in scholarships. Pittsburgh Promise has a goal of raising $250 million dollars to help students; through donations and partnerships so far it has raised $196 million.

Duquesne is ranked in the top ten of schools who accept students who are recipients of the Pittsburgh Promise.

“As the program evolves, we too evolve in order to support the increasing number of PPS students who take advantage of the program,” Cukanna said.