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$1 Million Gift Gives 50 Students Full-ride Scholarship to Binghamton University

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One organization is partnering with Binghamton University to help support 50 Pell Grant-eligible students pursue a bachelor's degree. BU was selected as one of only three universities in New York State in a program that will send students to college at little to no cost for four years.  

A check for $1 million was handed over to Binghamton University on Monday from founder and chairman of Give Back, Robert Carr. The money will go towards the recruitment of high-need ninth grade students and provide them with mentoring and skills needed to prepare themselves for college. Give Back focuses on supporting high-achieving scholars who have experienced foster care or the incarceration of a parent.

"Our program allows a student to know that they are going to graduate as long as they do their part, which means going to school everyday, taking tough courses, and getting a B average," said Carr. 

Give Back organization has already worked with 25 universities across the nation, which in turn has prepaid over 1,000 scholars to go to college debt-free. The organization is most known for it's unique financial model that combines universities, government financial aid, and lower-income families. Give Back also has a 91% graduation rate for four year students and has a 100% employment rate among alumni. 

"He has got something in his program through his mentoring, and his staff, and his selection of students that we want to be part of. We really want to use his techniques of finding those kinds of students that are doing well academically, but just don't have the family income to go to college," said Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger. 

Binghamton University Alumni, Tonya Parris says this is a huge accomplishment for the university. Parris is also the founder and President of the Parris Foundation that will be partnering with Binghamton University and the Give Back foundation. She founded the organization in 2004 as a program for disadvantaged students pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines at Binghamton University. Parris says she understands the struggle of not being able to afford college. She was the first of her family to attend college and raised in public housing. 

"I'm very emotionally connected to what Bob Carr is offering here today with the Give Back foundation. I feel like if I had a scholarship like this, I would have been able to have it all. I feel like these students will have an opportunity to come to college to have a really full experience, and see what college is all about," said BU Alumni Tonya Parris. 

After graduating BU, Parris went on to graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania for computer science. Later, she went on to start a career on Wall Street. Parris has now switched her career over to philanthropy, some of which is at Binghamton University. 

Give Back Chairman, Bob Carr, says Tonya is a great example of many people students who will achieve their career goals through the help of foundations like their's and Binghamton University. 

"We hope that we can put Bob Carr's resources behind Tonya's students, and our great mentoring to attract some students starting this fall, 2018," said BU President Harvey Stenger.