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Newark City of Learning Collaborative receives $500,000 grant from Prudential Foundation

<p>Reginald Lewis, executive director of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. The program will help Newark residents obtain college degrees.</p>

Reginald Lewis, executive director of the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. The program will help Newark residents obtain college degrees.

The Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC) received a $500,000 capacity-building grant from the Prudential Foundation to continue offering residents of Newark the tools and resources to attend a higher-education institution, according to a press release from Rutgers University—Newark.

The grant will be paid over three years and is a renewal of funding the Prudential Foundation first awarded NCLC in 2016, according to the release.

This grant will allow NCLC to manage a team of individuals with various areas of expertise to help increase the number of residents in Newark with a college degree, according to the release. They want this number to increase to 25 percent by the year 2025.

After the NCLC was established in 2015, the Prudential Foundation offered funding for its first full-time executive director, Reginald Lewis, in 2016, according to the release. Lewis was able to develop strategic priorities, pre-college programming and create the capacity to collect data, among other things.

The NCLC launched the report, “Post-Secondary Outcomes of Newark High School Graduates,” in collaboration with Rutgers University—Newark School of Public Affairs and Administration, according to the release. It focused on college enrollment, persistence and completion rates of approximately 85 percent of Newark high school students who graduated between 2011 and 2016. As a result, the NCLC created a series of public conversations to address various issues it found from the report.

It also has a Dual Enrollment Initiative, where high schools students in Newark are able to take college courses for credit at Rutgers University—Newark, according to the release. The NCLC arranged for approximately 90 students to participate in the Spring 2020 semester. It also arranged the first dual-enrollment program with Newark Public Schools during Spring 2019 semester.

The NCLC established the Newark FAFSA Challenge in October 2019, which is meant to encourage more high school seniors in Newark to fill out the FAFSA, according to the release. This was done in collaboration with the United Way, the Newark Public Library and the Newark Board of Education, among others.

“We are grateful to the Prudential Foundation for their continued commitment to NCLC and to Newark’s revitalization,” Lewis said, according to the release. “In Prudential we have not only found a devoted funder, but (also) a profound thought partner that has been critical to our continued efforts to improve post-secondary outcomes for the city. We look forward to sustaining this work with Prudential’s crucial support.”

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