US: CUNY'S programme for immigrant elites

City University of New York's Macaulay Honors College is reviving a New York tradition of giving opportunities to 'diamonds in the rough' - immigrants and their sons and daughters - writes Geraldine Baum for the Los Angeles Times. Some 1,200 students are receiving a first-rate education, for free, at the nation's largest public university.

This city has long created public institutions to educate immigrants and their sons and daughters, turning generations into doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs, not to mention Nobel Prize winners and Rhodes scholars. Now, that tradition is having a renaissance. Many US universities have established honours colleges, but CUNY's has an extra goal of turning ambitious immigrants and the children of the working class into worldly New Yorkers with a heart for public good.

Macaulay scholars are required to take a series of seminars about New York and clock 30 hours of public service. They each get a laptop, $7,500 to study abroad or defray costs during an unpaid internship and a 'passport' to New York arts and cultural venues. Each student is also assigned four advisors who push and coddle, strategize and negotiate, with the intention of getting these least-entitled students on equal footing with the elite.
Full report on the Los Angeles Times site