Thanks to a New Program, More Urban High School Seniors Will Study at NJIT

The Smart Students Choose New Jersey program will give the highest-ranked seniors from high schools in Newark and Camden incentive to attend in-state colleges.

High school seniors from Newark and Camden have added incentive to attend NJIT, thanks to a new program that rewards top-performing students who choose to attend a New Jersey college.

The Smart Students Choose New Jersey pilot program will give the highest-ranked seniors from 44 high schools in Newark and Camden a $2,000 scholarship and three paid summer internships if they attend an in-state college. The students can remain at the same company for all three internships or work at different companies each summer. The program, launched this week by Choose New Jersey, Inc, aims to counter what is known colloquially as the “brain drain,” where each year some 35,000 seniors from New Jersey attend colleges in other states.

For decades, NJIT has run a hugely successful pre-college program that helps inner-city students excel in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects. Many of those students later apply and are accepted at NJIT, where they excel academically and graduate into high-paying careers. NJIT also runs a long-standing Educational Opportunity Program that has been recognized nationally for educating and graduating students from inner-city high schools.    

 “The Smart Students Choose New Jersey program offers generous incentive for Newark and Camden students to come to a leading university like NJIT,” said NJIT President Joel Bloom, who is a Choose New Jersey board member. “Our students are in great demand because of the need in New Jersey for STEM workers. They get the best internships and the best jobs, and we are delighted that we’ll have more urban students coming to NJIT by way of this new program.”

The lead sponsor of the program in Newark is Audible, Inc. But the program is also supported by a host of companies, groups and institutions including NJIT, PSEG, Atlantic City Electric, PNC Bank, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Hackensack University Health Network, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, International Union of Operating Engineers – Local 825, Jersey Central Power & Light, Laborers International Union of North America, New Jersey American Water, NJM Insurance Group, New Jersey Resources, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Prudential Financial Inc., South Jersey Gas, Suez in North America, Verizon, Wakefern Food Corporation, New Jersey Institute of Technology and Campbell Soup Company.

The program, open to public, parochial and charter schools will be offered in 33 eligible schools in the City of Newark and 11 eligible schools in the City of Camden. The program’s 44 scholars will be announced in June 2016.

By Robert Florida

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