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Waste Management Grant Boosts RMU Early College Completion Program

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pittsburgh, Oct. 21, 2014 – One year ago, Robert Morris University launched a program to allow high school students to earn 15 college credits at a deep discount. Now, thanks to a grant from Waste Management, RMU can pay for the students’ textbooks, as well.

Waste Management gave the $8,000 grant to RMU through the Pennsylvania Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, which offers state tax credits to businesses that donate money to support K-12 educational improvement organizations or scholarship funds.

The RMU First Semester College in High School Program allows qualified high school students to enroll in college courses taught by Robert Morris faculty at the students’ schools. Students take five introductory-level courses, the equivalent of an entire college semester, over their junior and senior years. The courses are designed so that the credits will transfer easily to any institution should the students choose not to enroll at RMU when they complete high school.

“Waste Management is excited to support RMU’s First Semester College in High School program through EITC funding. Educational opportunities are important to Waste Management, and since the inception of the EITC program in 2001, our company has donated over $10 million across the Commonwealth,” said Erika Deyarmin, public affairs coordinator for Waste Management in western Pennsylvania. 

“Robert Morris University’s program will be accessible to many students across the communities we service in western Pennsylvania, and we are proud to help support their efforts,” said Deyarmin.

RMU gives the high school students a 70 percent tuition discount. The university currently offers the program at Moon, Montour, and Hopewell high schools, as well as at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School in Moon Township. Under the terms of the EITC program, the Waste Management grant will cover the cost of textbooks for students at the three public high schools, saving students approximately $450 to $500.

Moon and Montour came on board in the fall of 2013, and Hopewell and Our Lady of the Sacred Heart joined this year. A total of 70 students are currently enrolled.

Larry Tomei, vice president for academic affairs at RMU, conceived of the First Semester College in High School Program after listening to a discussion among the university’s Board of Trustees about ways to reduce student loan debt and improve college completion rates.

“Students, administrators, and faculty all rave about the courses and – more importantly – the quality and determination of each student. We anticipate expanding expand the program even further in 2015,” said Tomei.