Thanks to a $1 million commitment from the Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF), some 50 high school students will be able to attend Rowan University at no cost for tuition or room and board.

With the mission of helping more talented youth of modest means attend college, GSBF has awarded more than 250 scholarships in Illinois since it began in 2003. This year, the foundation expanded the program to New Jersey, and Rowan is the state’s first college to join as a partner.

The foundation was created by Robert Carr, the founder and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, as a way to pay back for a $250 scholarship he received as a high school senior. Heartland, one of the nation’s largest processors of debit and credit card transactions, is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey.

“GSBF is excited to expand its scholarship program to New Jersey and to work with Rowan University, which shares our vision of making a college education available to qualified students of modest means,” said Carr. “We want to help ensure students realize their full potential. And we want to encourage them to give back in the future.”

This fall, the foundation will identify school districts with which it will work. Freshmen who attend those high schools will be eligible to apply for entrance into the program, which, if successfully completed, will include a four-year scholarship to Rowan. To qualify, these high-achieving students must be eligible for partial or full Pell Grants. If selected, they also must meet additional GSBF criteria, such as maintaining good grades, taking honors and AP courses and demonstrating admirable character. The program will offer mentoring, networking, training, events and educational panels. Upon high school graduation, students also must meet the University’s standard admissions requirements and be admitted to the University.

The foundation’s mission aligns with Rowan’s commitment to make higher education more affordable and accessible for students in New Jersey.

“This scholarship program will enable more economically disadvantaged, academically talented students to pursue a college degree,” said Rowan’s president, Dr. Ali Houshmand. “We are honored to partner with GSBF, which is investing in New Jersey students and entrusting us with them as they work to achieve their goals.”

Added R.J. Tallarida, Rowan’s associate vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Rowan University Foundation, “Bob Carr is a visionary leader who understands the value of higher education. He and his foundation will transform the lives of thousands of students seeking access to a high-quality education.”

The first class chosen for GSBF scholarships will begin college in the fall 2019.