New scholarship to cut 75% off tuition for eight Hamden residents

Aidan Sheedy, Copy Editor

College will become cheaper for incoming students from Hamden as Quinnipiac University announced in a March 14 press release that the school will offer a new scholarship program for town residents, starting in fall 2022.

The scholarship is worth roughly over $50,500, 75% of full-time tuition. Quinnipiac committed to awarding eight students annually, totaling $300,000 in scholarships per year once fully implemented.

“We have (students) right here in our backyard,” said Bethany Zemba, vice president for strategy and community relations. “So it’s an opportunity for us to embrace it and ensure that people consider Quinnipiac as an option for them.”

The scholarship is available for any Hamden resident and is not exclusive to Hamden High School graduates. It does not require a separate application. Every Hamden resident accepted to Quinnipiac will automatically be nominated for the award.

“It shows that we want to engage in meaningful ways,” Zemba said. “We want to show that we want to collaborate and that we want to work in partnership in the towns in which we reside.”

Zemba worked alongside Daniel Cocchiola, coordinator of counseling and career pathways at HHS, to make this program possible.

“I think it definitely allows our kids to know that we have a neighbor who wants to be a partner with us,” Cocchiola said. “That’s a big deal.”

Marina Yasuna

The origin of the scholarship came from the success of the annual junior book award, which is a $15,000 grant Quinnipiac gives to a Hamden student each year. From there, Zemba and Cocchiola worked together to provide more to prospective students.

“Essentially, that was the start of the partnership,” Zemba said. “(Cocchiola) and I continued to have conversations and decided that we’d also like to make a scholarship available to a Hamden senior who wants to go to college as a first year.”

Cocchiola said the administrators at HHS are actively seeking to increase community relations with the town and allow greater access to higher education for its graduates.

HHS has statistics that indicate many of its students will need financial aid in college.

“The state data shows that 40% of our families require a free and reduced lunch,” Cocchiola said. “65% of our students are going on to four-year colleges … so a program like this with Quinnipiac can really give a start to move the needle a little bit.”

Affordability is the key to this initiative, but Zemba is focused on the symbiotic relationship between Quinnipiac University and the town of Hamden.

“I think (Cocchiola) and I both believe that what’s good for Hamden is good for Quinnipiac 

and what’s good for Quinnipiac is good for Hamden,” Zemba said. “So this is just another one of the multiple ways that we try to give back.”

Hamden native and first-year health science studies major Margaret Creve-Coeur said she is excited for her former classmates and the opportunities they can have now locally.

“That’s dope,” Creve-Coeur said. “It’s now a better education for the kids that are coming up like a lot of my friends ended up going to (Southern Connecticut State University) or community schools, so I think it’s great that we are giving other kids an opportunity.”

Creve-Coeur said she is eager to see some familiar faces and believes there will be an attraction for local high school graduates to apply to Quinnipiac.

“Quinnipiac is already so involved with the high school and elementary school,” Creve-Coeur said. “But the only thing that’s holding them back is that they can’t afford the tuition.”