Faqs

Passport to Promise (9)

Should I apply for Passport to Promise and the regular Promise Scholarship?

To apply for Passport, you must go through the New Haven Promise Scholarship application process. At the end of the application you will be asked if you would like to also apply for Passport. That decision should be based on your grade-point average. For if you meet all the other requirements — but fall short of the 3.0 GPA requirement — you should apply for Passport to Promise. In fact, if you are just above a 3.0 heading into your final semester, we recommend that you take the time to write the essay and apply as a simple precaution.

The Promise Scholarship requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher when you graduate from high school. Passport to Promise is a competitive scholarship (so we award it to a maximum of 20 people based on merit, not simply by location like the full Promise Scholarship), and requires a GPA of 2.5 to 2.99. If your GPA falls in that category, you live in New Haven, attend a New Haven public school, and have your 40 hours of community service completed, apply for your Passport.

What’s the difference between a Promise Scholarship and Passport to Promise?

The Promise Scholarship is our flagship scholarship, covering up to 100% tuition at any in-state public school (or $2,500 at a private school). Both scholarships require 90% attendance during high school, 40 hours of community service, and a positive disciplinary record. You must live in New Haven and attend a New Haven public school in order to qualify for either.

Where they differ is in GPA requirements. The Promise Scholarship requires a 3.0 GPA upon graduation and covers everyone automatically assuming they’ve applied and meet the residency, attendance, service, and GPA requirements.

The Passport to Promise is a competitive scholarship, meaning you must apply and only 20 students will be awarded the scholarship each year. To apply to Passport to Promise you must have a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99. Passport to Promise recipients receive $1,000 their freshman year of college and assuming they perform at a 2.0 GPA or better, they’ll be automatically enrolled in the Promise Scholarship as a Promise Scholar for the remainder of their degree up to 3 years.

The application process is very similar for both, but Passport to Promise applicants must also receive a letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor or administrator and write a short essay explaining why they deserve a Passport to Promise Scholarship.

Is the GPA weighted or un-weighted?

The GPA is weighted. Which is a way of calculating a GPA so it differentiates college-prep classes. For example, a weighted GPA gives more value to an “A” grade in an AP geometry class than an “A” in a regular geometry class.

To qualify for Promise, you must have a 3.0 GPA upon graduation from high school. For Passport to Promise, you must have a 2.5-2.99.

What are the eligible elementary and secondary schools? Are secondary vocational schools eligible?

Check out the list of eligible schools.

Secondary vocational schools are not eligible unless they are on that list of eligible schools.

What are the eligible colleges and universities?

Check out the list of eligible colleges and universities.

All certification or degree programs in the trades at state-supported community colleges are qualified. Private apprentice programs are not eligible.

How is New Haven Promise funded?

Scholarships for the New Haven Promise are funded by Yale University.  In order to ensure that every dollar and other contributions that will be raised over time go toward the explicit purpose of New Haven Promise scholarships, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven provides administrative support. Yale-New Haven Hospital and Wells Fargo fund Promise’s partnership programs.

My son or daughter is in 8th grade (or lower grades) in the New Haven Public Schools and is a resident of the City of New Haven. Do they and myself, as the guardian, need to complete the New Haven Promise Pledge form?


The New Haven Promise Pledge Form has moved online and can be completed in a matter of minutes. Students and parents can fill out the form — and are encouraged to do so — as early as sixth grade. A completed pledge form is required for application to both the New Haven Promise Scholarship and the Passport to Promise Scholarship. Signing up early will help Promise best work to ensure that students are fully prepared to earn their Scholarship and be aware of opportunities that will help pay for college.

I’m in New Haven public schools, so why are out-of-district magnet students disqualified from the program? 


New Haven Promise is based off the national model of promise communities.  Promise communities are those that invest in education and economic development through place-based scholarship programs, which is why (like the other Promise programs before us) the scholarship is specifically for New Haven residents who attend New Haven public schools.

New Haven Promise has three goals: cultivate an aspiration for college education, build community and parental engagement, and grow economic development.  As an education AND economic development program we not only want students to attend our schools– we want to grow home-ownership in the City as well.

What counts as community service?

Community engagement and service outside the school are components of Connecticut’s implementation of a Student Success Plan, which values a broadened awareness of self within a global context. To qualify for either the Promise Scholarship or Passport to Promise Scholarship, a student must complete 40 hours of community service during high school. Many New Haven public high schools require community service as a graduation requirement and service performed in the community can be counted toward a student’s Promise requirement and graduation requirement. Hours must be reported directly to servo.city.

High school counselors and Promise staff will determine those hours which will count toward the requirements. Generally, service must be performed with valid New Haven non-profit charitable organizations or community or school festivals within the city. Hours associated with religious practice, in-school staff assistance and personal service for family, friends and neighbors will not be authorized as Promise service hours.

Residency & Enrollment Requirements (23)

What are the terms of the scholarship?

Our scholarship is an annual award that covers up to full tuition, and tuition only for up to four years for any New Haven resident that graduates from a New Haven public school and attends a Connecticut public 2 or 4-year college or university. See the full list of terms and conditions about our scholarship.

Do I need to fill out the FAFSA application?

Yes, filling out FAFSA is now a requirement for all students who intend to accept funding from New Haven Promise, except for those unable to do so because of citizenship status. In those cases, New Haven Promise must communicate with any student in advance of funding. If you need help with FAFSA, contact your school guidance counselor.

Promise money will not disqualify you from other scholarships and is not reported on the FAFSA form either.

To learn more about FAFSA, visit www.fafsa.ed.gov.

What is the application process?

The Promise, Passport to Promise and Pledge Form applications are now a one-stop process. Check it out! The 2014 application deadline for New Haven Promise and Passport to Promise is April 30th. Students from sixth-grade to the junior year of high school can fill out the Pledge Form at any time, but are urged to do so now!

How is attendance calculated if a student leaves and later returns to a New Haven public school?

Attendance is calculated from the date of most recent enrollment.

So, if you attend school from Kindergarten through 8th grade, leave for two years and come back in 11th grade, your attendance will be calculated starting from the 11th grade.

Why is the scholarship based on a sliding scale?

We’re here to help build a better city and that success starts with you! We want to encourage families to make early decisions to enroll in New Haven schools and maintain that enrollment through graduation and continue to live and work in New Haven.

Why offer this program to the graduates of New Haven Public Schools and public charter schools?

Education is an important part of financial well being and we want to help. Plus, this allows public schools to differentiate themselves against private school systems and gives opportunity to everyone.

Not to mention data from other Promise zones in the U.S. show marked improvements in a community’s economic vitality and quality of life.

I don’t live in New Haven, but I own property there and pay taxes to the City of New Haven — do we qualify for a Promise scholarship?

Promise is funded entirely by private donations and no tax money comes to Promise. So no, you wouldn’t qualify for Promise. We’re here to increase the vitality of New Haven and want to encourage everyone to live, work, and attend school here.

As part of School Choice, does a student who lives in New Haven but attends a school out of district qualify for Promise?

We have the goal of encouraging people to attend New Haven Public Schools or charter schools in New Haven, so we can only cover students who live in AND go to school in New Haven.

Will students who live in a neighboring district and attend New Haven Public Schools through the inter-district magnet program be eligible for this award?

You must reside and attend school in New Haven to be eligible for Promise. Magnet programs are not eligible unless you also live in New Haven.

Will students who attend NHPS and transfer out prior to graduation be eligible?

You must graduate from a New Haven public school to qualify for Promise.

Does the program apply to undocumented students?

Yes! The program applies to any New Haven resident who graduates from a New Haven Public school or approved charter school.

What are the eligible elementary and secondary schools? Are secondary vocational schools eligible?

Check out the list of eligible schools.

Secondary vocational schools are not eligible unless they are on that list of eligible schools.

What are the eligible colleges and universities?

Check out the list of eligible colleges and universities.

All certification or degree programs in the trades at state-supported community colleges are qualified. Private apprentice programs are not eligible.

Can the scholarship be transferred to a not-for-profit college or out-of-state vocational training program?

We can’t transfer the scholarship out-of-state, but any in-state not-for-profit college is eligible for up to $2,500 a year.

Are there additional requirements that must be met after Promise money is received?

You must maintain a 2.0 GPA each semester throughout your college years.

If you fail to meet those requirements, the scholarship will be revoked.

How many years do students have to use their Promise scholarship?

Students are eligible for two years of scholarships for two-year institutions with the option for a one-year deferral after graduation from high school and for four years of scholarships for four-year institutions with an option for a one-year deferral after graduation from high school.  In both cases enrollment must be full-time.  Students moving from two to four-year institutions are eligible for up to two more years of scholarships.

Can the scholarship be transferred from a two-year college to a four-year college or university?

Yes! Promise will happily transfer your scholarship between eligible schools and actively encourage people to transfer from two to four-year schools. You’ll be eligible for up to two more years of scholarship if you do.

Can the scholarship be transferred to siblings or friends?

No. It’s only for the student who applied for and earned the scholarship.

What happens if I defer school for a year after high school or need to take time off during college? Will the scholarship still be available?

Yes! You have four years to use the scholarship at a four-year school, and you can defer up to one year. You have two years to use the scholarship at a two-year school, and you can defer up to one year.

I am in 10th grade at a parochial school in the City of New Haven but was with the New Haven public schools from kindergarten through 8th grade. How much of the scholarship will they receive from New Haven Promise?


The scholarship is for students who live in the City of New Haven and attend New Haven public schools because we want students graduating from New Haven public schools.  The program is designed to encourage students and parents to persist through and graduate from the New Haven public schools.

I’m in 10th grade in the New Haven public schools and have been since 3rd grade, but we only moved into the City of New Haven this year (when I was in 10th grade). How much of the scholarship will I receive from New Haven Promise?

Students who either move into the City or enroll in New Haven public schools past a student’s freshman year will not qualify for the scholarship since the benefit is scaled on continuous and concurrent number of years a student is both a resident of the City of New Haven and attends New Haven public schools. We want students to live in the City of New Haven and attend New Haven public schools.

My son or daughter is in 8th grade (or lower grades) in the New Haven Public Schools and is a resident of the City of New Haven. Do they and myself, as the guardian, need to complete the New Haven Promise Pledge form?


The New Haven Promise Pledge Form has moved online and can be completed in a matter of minutes. Students and parents can fill out the form — and are encouraged to do so — as early as sixth grade. A completed pledge form is required for application to both the New Haven Promise Scholarship and the Passport to Promise Scholarship. Signing up early will help Promise best work to ensure that students are fully prepared to earn their Scholarship and be aware of opportunities that will help pay for college.

I’m in New Haven public schools, so why are out-of-district magnet students disqualified from the program? 


New Haven Promise is based off the national model of promise communities.  Promise communities are those that invest in education and economic development through place-based scholarship programs, which is why (like the other Promise programs before us) the scholarship is specifically for New Haven residents who attend New Haven public schools.

New Haven Promise has three goals: cultivate an aspiration for college education, build community and parental engagement, and grow economic development.  As an education AND economic development program we not only want students to attend our schools– we want to grow home-ownership in the City as well.

The Promise Scholarship (32)

Do I need to fill out the FAFSA application?

Yes, filling out FAFSA is now a requirement for all students who intend to accept funding from New Haven Promise, except for those unable to do so because of citizenship status. In those cases, New Haven Promise must communicate with any student in advance of funding. If you need help with FAFSA, contact your school guidance counselor.

Promise money will not disqualify you from other scholarships and is not reported on the FAFSA form either.

To learn more about FAFSA, visit www.fafsa.ed.gov.

What is the application process?

The Promise, Passport to Promise and Pledge Form applications are now a one-stop process. Check it out! The 2014 application deadline for New Haven Promise and Passport to Promise is April 30th. Students from sixth-grade to the junior year of high school can fill out the Pledge Form at any time, but are urged to do so now!

What is “tuition”?

Tuition is generally “the cost of the academic portion of attending a school”. It varies from each college and university. It does not include fees, room and board, or other expenses like books and food.

Is study abroad covered?

Study abroad is covered only if your university administers the program. The only costs that are covered are the normal tuition costs for the credits taken abroad. No extraordinary tuition or expenses are covered.

What semesters does Promise cover?

Promise covers the regular fall and spring academic semesters. Summer and winter courses are not covered, but are a great way to finish up credits early!

Does tuition also include ‘mandatory fees’, application fees, or other deposits?

Promise covers the cost of tuition as set by the school. Other fees are not covered.

If the scholarship money isn’t needed because I have other scholarships, can Promise money be applied to room and board fees?

Promise can only cover tuition costs. However, Pell and SEOG grants from the federal and state government can be used to cover non-tuition costs.

How will this award work with other post-secondary financial opportunities?

Promise scholarship money works as what’s called “the last dollar in”. Meaning if you receive financial aid in the form of federal or state grants, Promise picks up the difference. Promise doesn’t not reduce your scholarship amount if you receive money from other public or private scholarships, we only consider federal and state grants.

When will the scholarship funds be available?

We send checks directly to your school’s bursar office once we receive notification that you’re accepted and enrolled full-time. Money is sent at the beginning of each semester after the drop/add period as defined by your school.

What are the terms of the scholarship?

Our scholarship is an annual award that covers up to full tuition, and tuition only for up to four years for any New Haven resident that graduates from a New Haven public school and attends a Connecticut public 2 or 4-year college or university. See the full list of terms and conditions about our scholarship.

Should I apply for Passport to Promise and the regular Promise Scholarship?

To apply for Passport, you must go through the New Haven Promise Scholarship application process. At the end of the application you will be asked if you would like to also apply for Passport. That decision should be based on your grade-point average. For if you meet all the other requirements — but fall short of the 3.0 GPA requirement — you should apply for Passport to Promise. In fact, if you are just above a 3.0 heading into your final semester, we recommend that you take the time to write the essay and apply as a simple precaution.

The Promise Scholarship requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher when you graduate from high school. Passport to Promise is a competitive scholarship (so we award it to a maximum of 20 people based on merit, not simply by location like the full Promise Scholarship), and requires a GPA of 2.5 to 2.99. If your GPA falls in that category, you live in New Haven, attend a New Haven public school, and have your 40 hours of community service completed, apply for your Passport.

What’s the difference between a Promise Scholarship and Passport to Promise?

The Promise Scholarship is our flagship scholarship, covering up to 100% tuition at any in-state public school (or $2,500 at a private school). Both scholarships require 90% attendance during high school, 40 hours of community service, and a positive disciplinary record. You must live in New Haven and attend a New Haven public school in order to qualify for either.

Where they differ is in GPA requirements. The Promise Scholarship requires a 3.0 GPA upon graduation and covers everyone automatically assuming they’ve applied and meet the residency, attendance, service, and GPA requirements.

The Passport to Promise is a competitive scholarship, meaning you must apply and only 20 students will be awarded the scholarship each year. To apply to Passport to Promise you must have a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99. Passport to Promise recipients receive $1,000 their freshman year of college and assuming they perform at a 2.0 GPA or better, they’ll be automatically enrolled in the Promise Scholarship as a Promise Scholar for the remainder of their degree up to 3 years.

The application process is very similar for both, but Passport to Promise applicants must also receive a letter of recommendation from a teacher, counselor or administrator and write a short essay explaining why they deserve a Passport to Promise Scholarship.

Why is the scholarship based on a sliding scale?

We’re here to help build a better city and that success starts with you! We want to encourage families to make early decisions to enroll in New Haven schools and maintain that enrollment through graduation and continue to live and work in New Haven.

Why offer this program to the graduates of New Haven Public Schools and public charter schools?

Education is an important part of financial well being and we want to help. Plus, this allows public schools to differentiate themselves against private school systems and gives opportunity to everyone.

Not to mention data from other Promise zones in the U.S. show marked improvements in a community’s economic vitality and quality of life.

Is the GPA weighted or un-weighted?

The GPA is weighted. Which is a way of calculating a GPA so it differentiates college-prep classes. For example, a weighted GPA gives more value to an “A” grade in an AP geometry class than an “A” in a regular geometry class.

To qualify for Promise, you must have a 3.0 GPA upon graduation from high school. For Passport to Promise, you must have a 2.5-2.99.

Does the program apply to undocumented students?

Yes! The program applies to any New Haven resident who graduates from a New Haven Public school or approved charter school.

What are the eligible elementary and secondary schools? Are secondary vocational schools eligible?

Check out the list of eligible schools.

Secondary vocational schools are not eligible unless they are on that list of eligible schools.

Is Adult Education covered?

Adult education is not covered.

What are the eligible colleges and universities?

Check out the list of eligible colleges and universities.

All certification or degree programs in the trades at state-supported community colleges are qualified. Private apprentice programs are not eligible.

Can the scholarship be transferred to a not-for-profit college or out-of-state vocational training program?

We can’t transfer the scholarship out-of-state, but any in-state not-for-profit college is eligible for up to $2,500 a year.

Are there additional requirements that must be met after Promise money is received?

You must maintain a 2.0 GPA each semester throughout your college years.

If you fail to meet those requirements, the scholarship will be revoked.

How many years do students have to use their Promise scholarship?

Students are eligible for two years of scholarships for two-year institutions with the option for a one-year deferral after graduation from high school and for four years of scholarships for four-year institutions with an option for a one-year deferral after graduation from high school.  In both cases enrollment must be full-time.  Students moving from two to four-year institutions are eligible for up to two more years of scholarships.

Can the scholarship be transferred from a two-year college to a four-year college or university?

Yes! Promise will happily transfer your scholarship between eligible schools and actively encourage people to transfer from two to four-year schools. You’ll be eligible for up to two more years of scholarship if you do.

Will Promise cover graduate or PhD programs?

We can’t cover that, but you should totally go for it!

Can the scholarship be transferred to siblings or friends?

No. It’s only for the student who applied for and earned the scholarship.

What happens if I defer school for a year after high school or need to take time off during college? Will the scholarship still be available?

Yes! You have four years to use the scholarship at a four-year school, and you can defer up to one year. You have two years to use the scholarship at a two-year school, and you can defer up to one year.

How long will New Haven Promise be available?

Don’t worry, we’re not going anywhere. Our funding is renewed on an annual basis.

How is New Haven Promise funded?

Scholarships for the New Haven Promise are funded by Yale University.  In order to ensure that every dollar and other contributions that will be raised over time go toward the explicit purpose of New Haven Promise scholarships, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven provides administrative support. Yale-New Haven Hospital and Wells Fargo fund Promise’s partnership programs.

My son or daughter is in 8th grade (or lower grades) in the New Haven Public Schools and is a resident of the City of New Haven. Do they and myself, as the guardian, need to complete the New Haven Promise Pledge form?


The New Haven Promise Pledge Form has moved online and can be completed in a matter of minutes. Students and parents can fill out the form — and are encouraged to do so — as early as sixth grade. A completed pledge form is required for application to both the New Haven Promise Scholarship and the Passport to Promise Scholarship. Signing up early will help Promise best work to ensure that students are fully prepared to earn their Scholarship and be aware of opportunities that will help pay for college.

I’m in New Haven public schools, so why are out-of-district magnet students disqualified from the program? 


New Haven Promise is based off the national model of promise communities.  Promise communities are those that invest in education and economic development through place-based scholarship programs, which is why (like the other Promise programs before us) the scholarship is specifically for New Haven residents who attend New Haven public schools.

New Haven Promise has three goals: cultivate an aspiration for college education, build community and parental engagement, and grow economic development.  As an education AND economic development program we not only want students to attend our schools– we want to grow home-ownership in the City as well.

My son or daughter is in 6th grade, will New Haven Promise scholarships be available when they reach ninth grade? 


The New Haven Promise Board will review the program and renew scholarships on an annual basis for each incoming ninth grade class based on whether Promise AND New Haven School Change meet their respective goals.  Once the NHP Board has made a determination to renew for an incoming freshmen class, the commitment will be available for eight years (freshman year from high school through a four-year college degree).

What counts as community service?

Community engagement and service outside the school are components of Connecticut’s implementation of a Student Success Plan, which values a broadened awareness of self within a global context. To qualify for either the Promise Scholarship or Passport to Promise Scholarship, a student must complete 40 hours of community service during high school. Many New Haven public high schools require community service as a graduation requirement and service performed in the community can be counted toward a student’s Promise requirement and graduation requirement. Hours must be reported directly to servo.city.

High school counselors and Promise staff will determine those hours which will count toward the requirements. Generally, service must be performed with valid New Haven non-profit charitable organizations or community or school festivals within the city. Hours associated with religious practice, in-school staff assistance and personal service for family, friends and neighbors will not be authorized as Promise service hours.