Jan. 23, 2020 2:45p
(WGTD)---Gateway Technical College is expanding a program that's designed to eliminate or reduce financial barriers to attending college.
Over the past three years, over 500 high school graduates have enrolled in Gateway's Promise program. In exchange for keeping up their grades and attending an expanded orientation session, eligible students have the gap filled between traditional financial aid and the costs of tuition and books.
The extra aid comes from a more than $3 million endowment that was funded by donations.
Gateway announced Thursday that a new fund will be created to help those 24 and older who've had some college experience and are looking to return to complete their education.
The application period has already opened. According to a news release, the college is prepared to accept the first 110 applicants who qualify. The first group will begin classes a year from now.
Gateway Technical College Foundation Director Jennifer Charpentier says the Foundation hopes to raise $1.5 million for Promise 2 Finish over the next two years.
About half of the amount is already in place, thanks in part to a $250,000 contribution from HARIBO of America, the Gummy Bear maker who's setting up a production facility in Pleasant Prairie.
While students can start applying today, the college will also hold a series of workshops next month to guide those interested in how to apply for the program and apply for financial aid.
The deadline for admission into the first cohort is Oct. 1st of this year.
To date, the original Promise program has awarded 90 degrees or certificates.
Gateway statistics show that 9 out of every 10 Promise students remained in college after their first semester. That's nearly double the national average.