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Initiative To Make College Free

June 20, 2018 09:03 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- It’s been in the works for several years.

On Wednesday, we learned of a program that gives some high school graduates an unprecedented opportunity and it's starting with the class of 2019.

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"We're going to put in place an opportunity for every senior at Austin public school system and also at Pacelli an opportunity to attend tuition-free and with some aid for books to Riverland community college to help receive a two-year college degree," Hormel Foundation Chair Gary Ray said.

The requirements for students are flexible, and individual situations will be taken into account.

"They basically involved a grade-point average that we think is reasonable for most kids," Gary Ray explained.

“Let's say a student struggles their freshman or sophomore year, then if in their junior or senior year their GPA rises to a certain level, you also qualify,” Austin schools superintendent David Krenz said.

“We also put in there we would like each one of them to have at least 50 hours of community service in the community before they graduate high school," the Hormel Foundation’s Gary Ray said.

“There's also money in it to provide counseling and a connection, an adult connection at Riverland to help support the students from Austin who do attend school there,” Superintendent David Krenz explained.

The offer of free college would be pro-rated for students who move to Austin sometime in the middle of their four years of high school.

"If you were not in debt that would be so much stress-free like you would be able to do so many things like people aren’t able to do when they're in debt," said Nyachan Gash, who will be a senior at AHS this fall.

“There could be an additional hundred and sixty children of the graduating classes attend Riverland college in the fall of 2019," Foundation Chair Gary Ray said.

Credits

Hannah Tiede

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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