Baltimore City Mayor, in partnership with two city colleges, announced the Mayor Scholars Program, granting city public school students with free higher education.
"I would really like to receive this scholarship," Frederick Douglas High School Senior Tiara Jones said.
The mayor's promise to students like Jones means everything.
"Because I want my mom to think of my dream as an accomplishment and not just a struggle for financial stability," Jones said.
This is the reality for so many who go to Baltimore City Public Schools. In 2018, their view will change.
"Help is on the way," President of Baltimore City Community College Gordon May said, elated to take in 200 to 300 new students under the new program.
After their two years at BCCC, students can continue their education at Coppin State University, who will help foot their junior and senior year bill, with help from the city.
Mayor Pugh said the city projects to spend $1.5 million in 2018 through the program, which has already been accounted for in the budget.
May said on campus they've already made adjustments to take in the new students as well.
New students like Jones who don't have other options, "my mom's been a single mother since the day I was born... She recently had an injury on the bus so she had to change to a different position and she's now working for the metro subway and there was a decrease in her paycheck."
She's pinning her future on this program.
So many see this opportunity and fear they won't quality, not bothering to even fill out a FAFSA.
"Rather than step up, they'll step back and they don't think about the fact that they really can go," Mayor Pugh said.
Leaving it up to counselors to build the bridge.
"Especially with the parental reinforcement not there as much as we would like it to be, it's very tough. However as a counselor it's my job to go beyond the call of duty sometimes and bring the students in, to sit them down," Frederick Douglas Counselor John Rogers said he gets his students to fill out that crucial form.
Hoping to keep his students in the classroom, on the road to a brighter future.
BCCCboasts robust technical and other job training programs that prepare students for jobs at budding companies in the city, like Amazon, who are hiring graduates, according to May.
Mayor Pugh expects 10% of the 4,000 graduates from city public schools to take advantage of the scholarship each year. She added students fill out the FAFSA will see other college opportunities open up, due to the government supplement.