Cox Communications has donated $100,000 to help fund a UA scholarship program designed to allow qualified low-income students to graduate debt-free.
Known as Arizona Assurance, the program provides select in-state students whose families make less than $42,400 a year with financial aid, grants and work-study programs that cover all the costs of attending the University of Arizona — which officials peg at slightly more than $14,000 a year.
The UA announced the program last year, accepting about 600 students in the fall. UA President Robert Shelton has said he would like to expand the program to allow any qualifying student the opportunity to attend the university for free.
The donation by Cox is an example of how Shelton plans to grow the scholarship — he has said publicly that private funding would drive the program amid the state's deepening economic woes.
The donation could earn Cox dividends in the future, Lisa Lovallo, head of Cox Communications in Southern Arizona, said in a news release.
"It's critically important that our bright and capable students continue to have access to a college education, especially during these challenging times," she said in the release. "Our partnership with the Arizona Assurance scholarship program allows us to directly invest in our state's future work force."
The scholarship program also provides students with faculty mentors along with internships and career guidance with several local employers, including Cox, the release said.