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WASHINGTON –  Mayor Kasim Reed joined a panel discussion this morning as part of the National Urban League’s National Higher Education Summit in the nation’s Capitol. The summit brought together nearly 200 education, business and government leaders to discuss the urgent need to enhance college and career success for students of color and low-income students and to prepare these students to meet the challenges of the 21st century workforce.

Mayor Reed joined Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston, Mayor Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Hardie Davis of Augusta, Ga., and Mayor Brian Jarvis of Beavercreek, Ohio, to discuss the role elected officials can play in addressing these important challenges. The panel discussion, the first of a two-part series called “Leadership: Strategic Investments, Partnerships & Vision,” focused on solutions and best practices identified by each of the elected officials.

“I applaud the National Urban League for organizing this panel, and pulling together an exceptional group of leaders to share solutions for increasing students of color and low-income students’ access to affordable, quality higher education,” said Mayor Reed. “My Administration is working with philanthropists and private sector partners to provide need-based scholarships through the Mayor’s Youth Scholarship Program. This program greatly reduces or eliminates student debt for graduates of Atlanta Public Schools. We are also working to strengthen connections between our colleges and universities with employers, so that more of our graduates can find meaningful employment here in the City, enabling them to remain a part of this community.”

The Mayor’s Youth Scholarship Program (MYSP) has been a key part of Mayor Reed’s effort to boost students of color and low-income students’ access to affordable higher education. All graduates of Atlanta Public Schools are eligible for the program, which offers substantial funding awards so that students can graduate without student debt.

For the last 10 years, the Mayor’s Youth Scholarship Program has provided more than 3,000 Atlanta youth with financial support to pursue post-secondary education and attend any college or university of their choice. MYSP provides up to $5,000 per semester and $10,000 per academic year to pay the balance of unmet student obligations, thus allowing students to focus on completing their degrees without financial worry. The program is administered through the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency (AWDA). During the 2014-2015 academic year, AWDA awarded 106 students an average of $7,529. To learn more, visithttp://atlmayorsscholarship.org/.

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