Press Release for Monday, April 28, 2008

Jacksonville Jaguar Jones-Drew Backs Higher Education

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102


Maurice Jones-Drew, the dynamic, all-purpose back for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is throwing his weight behind higher education by urging kids to stay in school and to get a college degree.

The popular Jaguar running back is quickly becoming a favorite among NFL fans and is featured in a brand new, high-energy public service announcement supporting The Jacksonville Commitment. The PSA will air in all of Duval County’s public middle and high schools as well as local television stations.

Jones-Drew contacted the University of North Florida to express his interest in promoting the importance of higher education in Duval County. A role model for youth both on and off the field, he was a natural choice as a spokesperson for The Jacksonville Commitment.

“I believe it’s important for young kids to know that getting a college degree is the key to being successful,” said Jones-Drew. “It’s great that The Jacksonville Commitment has made it possible for students to go to college without worrying about the cost.”

The Jacksonville Commitment was unveiled last month by the presidents of the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, Edward Waters College and Florida Community College at Jacksonville along with the City of Jacksonville and Duval County Public Schools to provide the financial support necessary to obtain a college education to public high school students from low-income families.

The pool will consist of students who qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program and reside in Duval County. The students with the most need will become Commitment Scholars first. Over time, more students will be accepted as Commitment Scholars.

UNF, JU and EWC are guaranteeing the entire cost of a four-year degree, including tuition, books, meals and housing for those students who choose to live on campus. FCCJ is guaranteeing the cost of a two-year degree and books, with the student then transferring to UNF, JU or EWC to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Approximately 9,000 Duval County students in the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades financially qualify for The Jacksonville Commitment; however, the students still must meet the admission’s standards of the institution they wish to enter.

The City of Jacksonville is providing the initial funding for this scholarship program and Mayor Peyton is pledging $1 million for The Jacksonville Commitment in the next fiscal year. The four local colleges are raising private support to compliment the city’s funding as the program grows.

To find out more about the new scholarship program, go to www.jacksonvillecommitment.org.


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