Every student in Birmingham deserves the opportunity to succeed.

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The Birmingham Promise will only be made possible by generous folks like you. Please donateto make success a greater possibility for Birmingham students.

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The Birmingham Promise

Transforming Futures

The Birmingham Promise will create new career and college opportunities for graduates of Birmingham City Schools. It will also help meet the workforce needs of Birmingham’s current and future employers. The program has two tracks:

Tuition Assistancethat covers college costs for Birmingham high school graduates.

Apprenticeships that provide Birmingham high school students with jobs and career experience to prepare them for post-graduation career opportunities. 

As a first step, Birmingham City School graduates of the Class of 2020 will be the first to receive Promise support in Fall 2020.

Benefiting Birmingham

The Birmingham Promise will give our graduates better opportunities and tools for success and help our businesses meet their workforce needs now and into the future. Based on other cities' experience, The Birmingham Promise could...

Increase Birmingham City Schools' enrollment, which would increase state funding.

Lead to higher graduation rates.

Lower racial disparities in student success.

Lead to overall population growth for Birmingham.

Students

TUITION ASSISTANCE

Walking across the high school graduation stage? Now you can walk into a college classroom.

  • Birmingham Promise tuition assistance helps Birmingham graduates pay for a college education.
  • Students can receive help to attend two-year and four-year colleges in Alabama.
  • Birmingham Promise tuition assistance covers needs not met by other scholarships or grants.
  • To receive Birmingham Promise tuition assistance, students need to complete the federal financial aid application.
  • Colleges have their own admission requirements. Students will need to apply to the schools they want to attend and be accepted by those schools.
  • Questions? Contact us at info@birminghampromise.org or 205-843-5967

Frequently Asked Questions

What tuition assistance does Birmingham Promise provide?

Birmingham Promise scholarships will pay for tuition and mandatory fees at Alabama’s public two-year and four-year colleges and universities. The amount will be determined after other financial aid has been applied. As a recipient of a Birmingham Promise scholarship, you may also receive additional support services depending on your individual needs. You will be connected with a success coach who will work to identify and meet those needs.

How do I apply?

You must first complete the federal financial aid process at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. This will allow you to see whether you qualify for other scholarships and grants. Once that assistance has been determined, you can apply for Birmingham Promise at http://uweb1.unitedwayeservice.org/promise. March 1 is the deadline for the FAFSA application and for the Birmingham Promise application.

Is there a minimum grade requirement?

There is no initial grade requirement to receive a Birmingham Promise scholarship. Your GPA can, however, affect your admission to certain colleges. Alabama’s two-year colleges have open-enrollment policies and no minimum grade requirements. You should check grade requirements at other campuses as you go through the college application process.

Once in college, Birmingham Promise students will need to maintain acceptable grades to keep receiving tuition assistance. Those requirements are being developed and will be released soon.


Can Birmingham Promise money be used for expenses other than tuition?

Birmingham Promise scholarships cover tuition and mandatory fees at Alabama’s public two-year and four-year colleges and universities. However, as a recipient of a Birmingham Promise scholarship, you may also receive additional support services depending on your individual needs. You will be connected with a success coach who will work to identify and meet those needs.

The Birmingham Promise will NOT cover housing, meal plans, books or other specific fees such as equipment for band, lab equipment, etc.

Who qualifies for tuition assistance under Birmingham Promise?

Birmingham Promise scholarships are available to graduates of Birmingham City Schools, starting with the Class of 2020. The Birmingham Promise is a new program in its initial developmental stages. We are excited about the future of Birmingham and our students. We are currently working with the private and public sector to raise the necessary funds and to create a framework to ensure the Promise will benefit students for generations to come. 

To be eligible, students must:

  • Be a resident of Birmingham.
  • Complete the FAFSA application to identify and secure other sources of financial aid. 
  • Apply to and be accepted by a public two-year or four-year Alabama college before graduating from high school.
  • Begin full-time college enrollment no later than the January following high school graduation. Graduates in 2020 must be a full-time, enrolled college student by January 2021 to receive a Birmingham Promise scholarship.

If you have questions about your residency and eligibility status for Birmingham Promise, please contact your school guidance counselor.

How many years of college will be covered?

Birmingham Promise will cover undergraduate tuition expenses for up to four years in a public Alabama college or university.

Which colleges are covered by Birmingham Promise tuition assistance?

Birmingham Promise scholarships can be used at any public two-year and four-year colleges in Alabama. Students must follow the normal college application process and be accepted by the school in order to receive tuition assistance from Birmingham Promise.

Here is a list of public colleges in Alabama:  

Two year campuses include:  

When can I apply?

The class of 2021 should be working to complete the federal financial aid process (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa) and the college application process. After completing the FAFSA process, students can apply for Birmingham Promise at http://uweb1.unitedwayeservice.org/promise. March 1 is the deadline to complete the FAFSA application and the Birmingham Promise application.

Where can I find help with the FAFSA process?

Can you receive tuition assistance if you did not attend Birmingham City Schools all 12 years?

For the class of 2020, any students enrolled in Birmingham City Schools at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year can receive a scholarship if they meet all other requirements. 

Enrollment requirements for future classes are being evaluated. 

Will the Birmingham Promise help pay for graduate school?

No. Birmingham Promise scholarships cover tuition and mandatory fees for up to four years at the undergraduate level.

How does military service affect eligibility for tuition assistance?

As long as you can maintain your military service and meet Birmingham Promise eligibility requirements, you can receive tuition assistance. To receive a Birmingham Promise scholarship, you must be enrolled as a full-time student in a public Alabama college or university, and your college enrollment must begin no later than January following your high school graduation. If you are eligible for tuition assistance and can maintain full-time college enrollment in Alabama, military service will not keep you from receiving a Birmingham Promise scholarship.

I graduated from high school in 2020, completed my financial aid and applied for the Birmingham Promise in the spring. What do I need to do next?

You have completed all steps necessary to be eligible for Birmingham Promise in the fall. Please make sure that we have the correct school on file for you. Also, please respond promptly to any emails or texts you receive from Birmingham Promise as we may need some additional information to complete the verification process on your behalf. You may reach us at info@birminghampromise.org.

When will my school receive payment from the Birmingham Promise?

Each school has a different timeline and process for submitting invoices to scholarship organizations. For the Birmingham Promise, we anticipate receiving the invoices starting in August and continuing through the end of the add/drop period for each school. Once schools have invoiced Birmingham Promise on behalf of their student, they will update the student’s account. With each school, we have set up a process and timeline that will ensure that students are able to register for classes in a timely manner and will not be charged late fees. Students should expect their account to be updated no later than the end of their school's add/drop period.

Why isn’t Birmingham Promise showing up on my financial aid letter?

For all schools other than UAB, Birmingham Promise is being processed as a vendor payment. This means that the payment may not reflect on the student’s financial aid letter, but it will show up on their account once it has been paid. 

What does "last-dollar" scholarship mean?

Last-dollar means that Birmingham Promise funds are applied once you have exhausted all eligible public aid (i.e.Pellgrants or ASAP). For example, if your tuition bill is $10,000 and you receive $2,000 in Pell grants, Birmingham Promise will provide $8,000 in support. If you do not receive any public aid, you are still eligible for the Birmingham Promise and we will cover the entirety of your tuition bill. Additionally, if you identify outside scholarships that can be used for things beyond tuition and fees, you do not have to exhaust those funds before Birmingham Promise support applies.

What’s the best way to get in touch with someone at Birmingham Promise?

The best way to get in touch with us is to send emails to info@birminghampromise.org. Emailing us allows us to keep track of inquiries we have responded to and those that require a follow-up. We recognize that many people prefer speaking to someone on the phone, so we established a hotline number for parents and students to call with questions about scholarships for the Class of 2020. That number is 205-843-5967.

What if my school says they don’t know what the Birmingham Promise is?

Please do not be alarmed if you speak to someone at your school and they do not know about the Birmingham Promise. We are in touch with leadership in the financial aid and admissions offices of every school that Promise students have indicated they will be attending in the fall. However, some staff members may not be fully aware of the initiative at this point.

Is there a minimum grade requirement for the Birmingham Promise

There is no initial grade requirement to receive a Birmingham Promise scholarship. Your GPA can, however, affect your admission to certain colleges. Alabama’s two-year colleges have open-enrollment policies and no minimum grade requirements. You should check grade requirements at other campuses as you go through the college application process. Once in college, Birmingham Promise students will need to maintain acceptable grades to keep receiving tuition assistance.

What are some resources to help with housing and other costs the Birmingham Promise?

Here are some additional resources:

* Federal Student Aid Information Center –1-800-433-3243. (Students can call this number about their FASFA or federal aid such as Pell Grants.)  

* Student Loan Support Center –1-800-557-7394  

My child will not graduate from Birmingham City Schools until 2021. When can they apply for the Birmingham Promise?

Expect to start seeing more information about scholarships for the Class of 2021 in September. Please check out our website for updates this fall and sign up for our newsletter.

What if I changed my mind about the school I want to attend in the Fall or was not admitted to my school of choice?

If you have changed your mind about the school you want to attend or have not been admitted to your school of choice please let Birmingham Promise know ASAP by emailing info@birminghampromise.org with the subject line “School Choice Change”. We will be emailing all students who were not admitted to their school of choice, so please be sure to respond to all emails from Birmingham Promise promptly so that we can verify your attendance with the correct school.

How to Apply for Tuition Assistance

1. Complete FAFSA by deadline

First, complete the federal financial aid process. Click here to see whether you qualify for other funds. This will determine your eligibility to apply for Birmingham Promise tuition assistance. Need help with FAFSA? Click here or here for assistance.

2. Sign up for updates.

Sign up for updates to stay in the know as Birmingham Promise releases more on the application process, important deadlines, and other information.

3. Apply for tuition assistance.

The Class of 2021 should be working to complete FAFSA and the college application process.

After you've completed the prerequisite steps and once the application opens, you may apply for tuition assistance on this site.

Apply Now for Tuition Assistance!

APPRENTICESHIPS

Still in high school? Apprenticeships are the best head start for your career.

  • Juniors and seniors can apply for apprenticeships.
  • Students will be matched with employers that meet their needs and interests.
  • Opportunities are available in a range of fields including healthcare, finance, and technology.
  • Students get on-the-job training as well as classroom lessons.
  • Students may earn credentials that will position for them for jobs after high school.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid, on-the-job learning experience that is matched with classroom lessons. Students earn $15 an hour on the job and also receive academic credit.

Who is eligible?

11th- and 12th-graders in Birmingham City Schools who have a 2.0 GPA, are on track to graduate, and whose schedule allows them to complete the necessary work hours. Students are selected for apprenticeships through an application and interview process.

What kind of jobs are offered through the apprenticeship program?

Birmingham Promise apprenticeships offer experience in four industries: healthcare and life sciences; energy and engineering; finance and business; and digital technology.

How many hours will students work?

Students must be able to work multiple hours a week. The precise schedule will be determined by employers and schools.

Can I select the job I want?

Students are selected for apprenticeships through an application and interview process. Your interests and goals are part of the application process, but there is no guarantee you will get a particular job.

Can I participate if I don’t attend Birmingham City Schools or live in the city?

The program is available only to Birmingham City Schools 11th- and 12th-graders who live in the city.

Does an apprenticeship guarantee me a job after high school?

An apprenticeship does not guarantee you a job after high school, but work experience can improve your chances of being hired in the future. In some cases, students may earn career-specific credentials that will allow them to qualify for jobs immediately after high school.

Are there grade requirements?

Students must have at least a 2.0 GPA, as verified by Birmingham City Schools.

How do I apply?

There are two application periods during the year – one for the fall semester and one for spring semester. The applications are available during those times at www.bhamyouthfirst.org. Students must also submit a resume, two recommendations and a 250-500-word essay.

How to Apply for an Apprenticeship

1. Look over the application.

There are two application periods during the year – one for the fall semester and one for spring semester. The fall application is now closed.

2. Complete the application.

Students will need to submit a resume, two recommendations and a 250-500-word essay.

3. Jumpstart your career!

Prepare yourself for a successful career and improve your chances of being hired in the future.

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SUPPORTERS

The Birmingham Promise will only be made possible by generous folks like you. Please donateto make success a greater possibility for Birmingham students.

Support Birmingham Promise

Make the promise possible

Join the Movement

The Birmingham Promise is a group of change makers who want Birmingham City School graduates to be able to attend public two or four year Alabama colleges tuition free.

As a first step, Birmingham City School graduates of the class of 2020 are now eligible to apply for apprenticeships and scholarships.

Join the movement to help us ensure that future classes can also benefit from this exciting opportunity. Click here to donate.

Colleges Click Here for support access.

Why Promise?

The Birmingham Promise is an investment in Birmingham's youth, which means it's an investment in our city's future.

The program includes apprenticeships and tuition assistance to set students up for great success without the strain of debilitating student debt.

With your support, the Birmingham Promise will work to increase state funding for city schools, increase graduation rates, lower racial disparities, and grow our population.

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