BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There was an announcement on Tuesday for a special ceremony involving several local school districts regarding a program geared toward securing the success of area students.

Local school district representatives met with the Commonwealth University at Bloomsburg to formally sign an agreement, guaranteeing students admission and a chance to earn scholarships at one of the three colleges.

“This is really not just about the student herself or himself. It’s about changing the economic outlook for the whole region,” said Bashar Hanna, President of Commonwealth University.

The room was filled with leaders from 17 school districts and Bloomsburg, Lock Haven, and Mansfield Universities, recognized together as Commonwealth University.

“We intended to make sure the first signing of these agreements were for local school districts surrounding each one of the three campuses,” Hanna explained.

The agreement guarantees students admission, eligibility for scholarships, and on-campus housing.

It’s one of three agreements for a total of 50 school districts in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Superintendents signed away and said this partnership will encourage more youth to attend college.

“It takes away barriers to their success. You know, any time they can have success even early on it breeds more success down the road,” said Jim Becker, Superintendent of the Southern Columbia School District

Currently, about one-third of all students at Commonwealth University are first-generation college students.

Harry Mathias, Interim Superintendent at Danville Area School District says this agreement will afford all students a shot at higher education, thus improving local economies.

“High school students work through here and get their degree here at Commonwealth University, the odds that they will stay here and plant their roots and raise their families and build their homes and just make this region great is all the higher,” Mathias explained.

The school districts say this agreement is a no-brainer and they’re all looking forward to the future of the program.