In an interview with Boston Public Radio Friday morning, Mayor Marty Walsh announced the launch of a new program ensuring that Boston Public School students who graduate from high school with a 2.2 GPA will receive two years of free community college. “It’s really an opportunity to get kids on a pathway to success,” Walsh said. “There’s no excuse why we don’t have more kids participating in colleges, [and] in four-year colleges, once we get them through the community college process. We have a couple of great community colleges here in the city of Boston, and it’s the way to go.”

The program, which is already in effect at Madison Park High School in Roxbury, is slated to begin this June. According to Walsh, it will be funded by the Neighborhood Jobs Trust, using linkage from large-scale development projects in the City of Boston. “As you know, we have unprecedented growth in our city, we have about $7.5 billion worth of development going on, we have another $14 billion in the pipeline, the Boston Redevelopment Authority has already approved twice what it was this time last year,” Walsh said. “So why not take advantage of a great economy?”

Walsh said that while Boston is prospering in terms of large-scale development, many residents still struggle with income inequality and affordable education. “This gives BPS students the chance and gives their parents, quite honestly, the chance, to be able to put them on a pathway to college,” Walsh said.

The ultimate goal, Walsh said, is to set students on a track to complete a degree at a four-year university or college. “A 2.2 GPA will not make you eligible for a lot of four-year colleges, and this is an opportunity to kind of pull your grades up,” Walsh said. “Me, personally, when I graduated high school I went to Quincy Junior College for a year to try and straighten out my grades... and it worked because I got into Suffolk.”

Walsh eventually transferred from Suffolk to Boston College. He said he was motivated by his own experience, hoping to give BPS students the same opportunity to attend a four-year school. “I had an understanding of what college was all about, learning in a college environment, really understanding that high school and college are very different,” Walsh said. “In college, you’re more of an adult, you have a pathway, and you kind of focus on what your career might be. This is one of the things that’s important that we’re doing here.”

To hear Mayor Walsh’s full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio link above.