Newark, Saint Elizabeth U. launch program that will give 40 city residents free college education

Guaranteed income. Now, guaranteed education.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is keeping his promise to find new and innovative ways to help raise the standard of living for Newark residents.

On Thursday, Baraka announced that the city is partnering with Saint Elizabeth University in Morris Township on a pilot program that will guarantee a debt-free four-year college education for 40 at-risk Newark students.

The pilot program, “Guaranteed Education,” will enable the selected students to attend Saint Elizabeth for four years through the $1 million grant from the city. The selected students will begin taking classes this fall.

Baraka explained the concept.

“Less than 16% of Newarkers have a bachelor’s degree,” he said. “The majority of Black and brown students finance their education through debt. To close the wealth and education gap in the state of New Jersey, we must first start by making secondary education free, not just at community colleges, but also at four-year institutions.

“In Newark, we are providing 40 at-risk students with a chance to obtain a college degree without incurring college debt. Our children deserve it.”

About Saint Elizabeth University

Founded by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in 1899, Saint Elizabeth University is a community of learning in the Catholic liberal arts tradition. SEU is ranked No. 1 in New Jersey by U.S. News & World Report for “Top Performers for Social Mobility – Northeast Region” and was recently ranked third in the state for earnings outcomes for students three years after graduation by NJEEDS. SEU has more than 40 undergraduate majors and minors, 14 master’s degree and two doctoral programs.

Saint Elizabeth President Gary Crosby said the school was happy and eager to help.

“Saint Elizabeth University has a longstanding mission of providing an affordable, high-quality education to resolute learners from various backgrounds,” he said. “We are very excited to partner with the city of Newark and Mayor Baraka in launching this important pilot program that will allow the university to further advance our mission.”

Crosby said the program is about more than just one degree for one person.

“This is particularly important, as many of our students return to their communities, helping to improve the quality of life for their families and neighbors, as well as the state of New Jersey,” he said.

The city of Newark will bear the cost of the selected students from Newark families for the four-year program. The grant represents “last dollar” funding that takes into account individual students’ federal, state and institutional financial assistance, and will focus on students entering the fields of education, nursing, psychology and social work.

The effort is just the latest for Newark. Last December, the city announced 400 more residents will be added to a program that provides $500 a month for two years.