Brook J. Lenfest pledges $7 million for Penn State scholarship

Brook J. Lenfest (center) is donating $3 million to High Tech High, a new charter school in the Progress Social Services Building on North Broad Street. He visited the school during a get-acquainted session for the students Wednesday 09/05 before the start of school year, and is seated with Nancy Arroyo (left), 14-years-old, from North Philadelphia and John Dancy (right), 14, from Upper Darby, during a question and answer session. (Tom Gralish / Staff photographer)
Brook J. Lenfest (center) is donating $3 million to High Tech High, a new charter school in the Progress Social Services Building on North Broad Street. He visited the school during a get-acquainted session for the students Wednesday 09/05 before the start of school year, and is seated with Nancy Arroyo (left), 14-years-old, from North Philadelphia and John Dancy (right), 14, from Upper Darby, during a question and answer session. (Tom Gralish / Staff photographer)
Posted: May 30, 2014

Needy Philadelphia public school graduates who want to attend Pennsylvania State University could get a boost from a new scholarship fund.

Philadelphia-area philanthropist Brook J. Lenfest has pledged $7 million to establish the scholarship endowment, the university said this week. The gift expands on existing scholarship support that Lenfest has provided the last decade to Philadelphia public school students attending Penn State.

"No hardworking student should be prevented from receiving a college degree because they cannot pay," said Lenfest, chairman of communications service provider NetCarrier Inc. and a real estate investor and developer.

Students who attend a Mastery Charter School or participate in the Philadelphia Futures mentoring program will get first preference, followed by other graduates of Philadelphia public high schools, the university said.

Twenty-five new students a year will receive $7,000 to $10,000 each year. Within four years, more than 100 students will be on the scholarship simultaneously, with seven spots conserved annually for students who need a fifth year, said Wil Del Pilar, Penn State's director of development for educational equity.

To qualify, students must be eligible for the federal Pell grant, targeted at low-income families.

The university will provide a 10 percent annual match on the $7 million pledge - $700,000 each year, the university said.

"Brook made an incredible investment in this population of students from Philadelphia," Del Pilar said, "and Penn State is making a commitment as well."

The scholarship is expected to cover about 40 percent of tuition, with federal and state aid paying most of the rest, he said.

Tuition, fees, and room and board for in-state students ran $26,362 last school year. Tuition for 2014-15 hasn't been set yet.


ssnyder@phillynews.com

215-854-4693 @ssnyderinq

www.inquirer.com/campusinq

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