With what seemed to be an outlandish goal 18 months ago, the Pittsburgh Promise achieved their $15 million goal with funding from local foundations, corporations and individuals. Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril has many goals for the Promise, which include stopping Pittsburgh Public high school enrollment decline by 2012, increase high school completion from 65 percent to 80 percent, and increase college graduation rates from 25 percent to 50 percent.
Ghubril says there is also solid proof that the Pittsburgh Promise is working, of the 757 Promise recipients from the class of 2008, 92 percent of them stayed enrolled for the spring semester. He says there are also individual stories, like Indiana University of Pennsylvania student Sarmed Shareef, that are living proof that the Pittsburgh Promise works.
Shareef, who graduated from Schenley High School in 2008, says he would not be going to a four-year school if he did not have the Pittsburgh Promise to help him. As a matter of fact, he admits to being a misguided student that didn't focus until he heard about the program. Now, after the 18-year-old Bloomfield native finished his first year at IUP, he maintained a 4.0 grade point average through the year.