Cincinnati State unveils grant to help low-income students afford college

Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-21 18:18:02-05

CINCINNATI - Oscar Martinez doesn't have any footsteps to follow when it comes to college. So he's going to make his own - for himself and his younger brothers.

“I want to do this for my brothers. They look up to me. I have two younger ones,” the Withrow High School student told WCPO.

His path got a little easier Tuesday when Cincinnati State unveiled a new "Be Great" Grant for low-income Cincinnati Public Schools students.

“It can be a make or break for a lot of folks in our community,” said Cincinnati State Provost Robbin Hoopes.

Martinez has always been into graphic design.

“That's one of my passions. I actually sell graphics to people online,” he said.

A "Be Great" Grant from Cincinnati State -  up to $1,000 for tuition and another $1,000 for books – could help him launch a career.

Who’s eligible for a Cincinnati State grant? Any CPS graduate who is eligible for Pell Grants.

 “I think it's a huge opportunity,” said another Withrow student, Sharrell Lasley.

 Like Martinez, Lasley has her own dreams of attending college.

“College is something I have to do. College is number one for me,” she said.

Hoopes says it’s a win-win for students and employers, providing local companies the quality of workers they need.

 “That's our mission - to create that pipeline,” Hoopes said. “This has been a barrier.”

For Martinez, it's all about getting to that final step.

“I can't wait to get there. I know it will be amazing,” he said.