University of Pittsburgh Bradford
Hamlin Bank contribution to benefit high school students
LAandDigels
Dr. Alexander, left, with Debbie and Martin Digel

Hamlin Bank and Trust Co. of Smethport has made a $200,000 commitment to Pitt-Bradford that will allow more high school students to take advantage of a program that allows them to earn college credit. 

            The contribution is made possible through the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The funds will be distributed to Pitt-Bradford over a two-year period. 

            Pitt-Bradford has two kinds of programs in which students can earn both high school and college credits for the same course, College in the High School and Bridges. Hamlin Bank’s contribution will allow Pitt-Bradford to increase participation across more school districts in the region.  

            Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford, said, “Our friends at Hamlin Bank are longtime supporters of Pitt-Bradford and its efforts to provide educational opportunities for students in our service region. This generous tax credit award will ensure that a significantly greater number of students in our region are able to get a head start in earning college credits, even as they complete their high school programs.” 

Twelve districts with 466 students currently participate in the College in the High School program: Austin Area, Bradford Area, Cameron County, Coudersport Area, Galeton Area, Northern Potter, Oswayo Valley, Otto-Eldred, Ridgway Area, Smethport Area and St. Marys Area. Sheffield Area Middle/High School is taking part for the first time this year. 

Unlike the Advanced Placement exam, which requires that students make a final score on an AP test at the end of the semester or year, College in the High School students follow the same syllabus as the students at Pitt-Bradford, cover the same material and take the same final exam. Students have the added benefit of studying a semester’s worth of college material over the course of an entire academic year. 

Courses offered range from first-year math and composition to more specialized first-year courses such as petroleum technology, cinema, geography, Spanish, accounting, sociology and more. 

            The additional funding provided through Hamlin Bank and other local businesses has allowed Pitt-Bradford to reduce its cost to students from $125 to $25 this year for College in the High School. For the Bridges program, the regular cost of $1,594 has been reduced to $250 for the student, and his or her school district’s portion has been eliminated. 

            Hamlin Bank is a state-chartered commercial bank and offers a variety of financial and trust services. Established in 1863, Hamlin Bank was the first bank to serve the communities of McKean County. 

The bank made its contribution through a special state program that allows it to receive tax credits for its gift. Companies have to pre-qualify with the state on a strict schedule, as did Pitt-Bradford. 

Interested businesses that must pay certain types of taxes in the state of Pennsylvania may qualify to redirect up to $300,000 of their PA tax liability to an approved Educational Improvement Organization such as Pitt-Bradford. The taxes include Corporate Net Income Tax, Capital Stock Franchise Tax, Bank and Trust Company Shares Tax, Title Insurance Company Shares Tax, Insurance Premiums Tax, Mutual Thrift Institutions Tax and some Subchapter S-corporations. 

For more information on whether a business may qualify for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, contact Rick Esch, vice president of business affairs at Pitt-Bradford, at (814)362-0992 or esch@pitt.edu

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