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Walsh launches GRAD Last Mile Fund to help Boston students in last leg of college

Students at UMass Boston and four other local colleges will be eligible for the GRAD Last Mile Fund.JONATHAN WIGGS/GLOBE STAFF/FILE PHOTO

Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Friday announced the launch of the GRAD Last Mile Fund, a new scholarship program to help financially struggling Boston residents heading into their last semester at five colleges.

The program, launched in partnership with the Frieze Family Foundation, will provide up to a $2,500 grant to cover transportation, rent, child and medical care, and other costs not related to school, according to Walsh’s office.

The fund “will enable more Boston students to realize their dream of graduating from college,” Walsh said in a statement.

The Frieze Foundation has agreed to fund a one-year pilot program at colleges with a high percentage of students from Boston — Bunker Hill Community College, MassBay Community College, Roxbury Community College, the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, and the University of Massachusetts Boston.


“We are pleased to seed this program of ‘last mile support’ with the hope that other funders will join us so even more students can reach their goal of graduation,” the foundation said in the statement.

To be eligible, a student must be entering their final semester of college and demonstrate financial need, according to the statement.

Joan Becker, vice provost for Academic Support Services at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said the scholarships will help many students address financial obstacles, such as food, housing, and medical costs.

“The GRAD Last Mile Scholarship will make it possible for these students to walk across the stage with their degree proudly in hand,” she said in the statement.

Taressa Jones, a nursing student at UMass Boston and recipient of the scholarship, said the award helps her pay for transportation and books, and take more days off of work to study for exams.

“I plan to use my education to give back to the City of Boston that has so graciously helped me. I plan to engage in community nursing in and around Boston communities,” she said.


Jackson Cote can be reached at jackson.cote@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jackson_k_cote.