Alexander City is borrowing an idea from Georgia's Hope Scholarship Program, and plans to offer a free college education to students. The Gateway to Education program would pay for students who graduate from Benjamin Russell High School to attend Central Alabama Community College (CACC).
To be eligible students have to live in the Alexander City area and meet admission requirements at CACC.
The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce is behind the idea and will solicit tax-free donations from the community to fund the scholarships. By offering access to college, chamber officials believe Alexander City will have a better educated workforce to attract new industries. The program also hopes to discourage students from dropping out of school.
Ryan Hill, a 12th grader at Russell High gives the idea high marks, "it's nice to know that we have a guaranteed spot in college and that our community is looking out for us and making sure that we continue our education," he says.