Hazel Park offering students Promise Zone scholarships

HAZEL PARK, Mich. (WXYZ) - If Hazel Park students get to college, the city will pay some of the bill for the first two years.

The city is hoping the program will encourage the families to move to the area because it could be the chance for some of the students to go to college who might otherwise not go to college.

18-year-old Kirsten Hall and 17-year-old Beth Gajos are cashing in on a promise from Hazel Park to help them pay for college.

"The last few months I've been worrying about how I'm going to pay for college" said Gajos.  "Now that I know that I have the Promise Zone and I have my grant. It's not that bad."

"It makes my decision where I want to go, because I have two options," said Hall.  "So the money helps decide where I want to go."

 The seniors will receive $2,000 a year over the next two years for a total of $4,000 for college. It is money they will not have to pay back, money from the Hazel Park Promise Zone fund.

"Although it doesn't seem like a lot, it does mean a lot that I won't have to pay back in loans," said Hall.

 Hazel Park School District is one of ten promise zones set up by the state of Michigan in 2009. They are set up in areas that meet or exceed the state's average poverty level.

To be eligible students must live in Hazel Park to get the promise money and the amount of money they receive is based on the number of the years in the district.

"We're going to be able to provide an opportunity for the kids who ordinarily may not have had the chance to go to college but now will be able to do so," said Hazel Park City Manager Edward Klobucher.

The city is supposed to have $330,000 before it can start distributing the money to students. To help them get there the Sutar-Sutaruk-Meyer Foundation is matching them dollar for dollar raised in the community, up to a $100,000 gift.

They will continue to raise money in the community all year long, hoping to turn that $100,000 into $200,000.

To learn more about the Hazel Park Promise, visit their website at: www.hazelparkpromise.com

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