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Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - 4:05am

M&T Bank will offer annual scholarships of up to $25,000 to two Rochester Institute of Technology students in the university's Rochester City Scholars Program.

RIT's Rochester City Scholars provides full tuition scholarship and other financial support to the university for Rochester public school graduates who are admitted as freshmen to full-time study in baccalaureate programs at RIT, and meet income eligibility requirements.

M&T Bank's gift will provide financial assistance for tuition not covered by other financial aid through an "M&T Bank Rochester City Scholars Scholarship." The first M&T Bank Rochester City Scholars Scholarship will be given in Fall 2016 to two students who are in good academic standing and entering their second year of studies at Saunders College of Business. Each "M&T Scholar" will also be offered an internship at the bank's regional headquarters at 255 East Ave., Rochester.

"We wanted to establish the M&T Bank Rochester City Scholars Scholarship to help assure local students that their hard work in earning admission to college will also earn them the financial support they require to succeed," said M&T Bank Regional President Dan Burns. "Through this program partnership with RIT, we hope to provide more of the tools and assistance our local youth need to become our future generation of leaders."

RIT President Bill Destler said M&T has been a strong supporter of Rochester City Scholars since its launch, and the bank has supported other scholarship funds, programs and facilities at RIT.

"With this gift, M&T is building on its tradition of giving back to the community," said Destler, who with his spouse, Rebecca Johnson, is a founding supporter of the program launched in 2010. "And it's doing so in the best way, making higher education possible for two young students who might not otherwise have been able to afford a college education. We are very appreciative of their support, and we know how grateful the students and their families will be as well."

According to the Rochester City School District, financial challenges prevent more than three-quarters of its students from attending college. Nearly 90 percent of the district's families earn $21,000 or less annually.

Since 2010, more than 130 students have participated in the program, which includes regular academic and personal support from the staff at RIT's Multicultural Center for Academic Success.

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