La Salle dual-enrollment program receives $250,000 commitment

January 23, 2023

The quarter-million-dollar pledge is from Philadelphia-based Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS). 

 More than a year ago, La Salle University launched an innovative program to expand its existing dual-enrollment offerings and, simultaneously, address college affordability and create an accessible path to a college degree. 

Now, the University’s La Salle Early Achievement Program (LEAP) has received a significant financial commitment from Philadelphia-based Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) totaling up to $250,000. 

The quarter-million-dollar pledge from BLOCS will guarantee entry into the University’s LEAP program for students enrolled in Archdiocese of Philadelphia high schools who are also currently receiving BLOCS scholarship assistance. Founded in 1980 by a cohort of local business and civic leaders, BLOCS provides scholarship support to ensure students have access to a high-quality education in Philadelphia-area Catholic elementary and high schools, as well as schools for students with special needs. 

Jean Landis, director of La Salle’s dual-enrollment pathways and the LEAP program, speaks to students and families at a 2021 event.

“This financial commitment from BLOCS is acknowledgement of the value of a Catholic education, the quality of our LEAP program, and the exceptional return on investment of a La Salle degree,” said John Zabinski, La Salle’s Vice President of University Advancement. “We are grateful for the philanthropic support of BLOCS, whose generosity will make a profound difference at La Salle University and in the lives of hundreds of students.” 

Students and families listen to
a presentation on the LEAP program
during a 2021 event.

La Salle launched LEAP in 2022 to meet the needs of college-bound students. Nationally, outstanding student loan debt is approaching $2 trillion. And Philadelphia ranks ninth out of the nation’s 10 largest cities in the percentage of its adult population to have attained a college degree. 

Since coming online, LEAP has provided more than 400 high school students in the Philadelphia area the opportunity to complete college courses at La Salle, taught by the University’s faculty. Through LEAP, students can earn as many as 30 credits—the equivalent of two semesters at a college or university—before graduating from high school. La Salle’s LEAP offers three unique, industry-focused academic tracks: exploratory studies; health and human services; and science, business, and technology. 

The sizable financial commitment from BLOCS follows a pattern of philanthropic support for LEAP since its debut in late 2021. The Philadelphia-based Neubauer Family Foundation provided a challenge match of $125,000. Full participation from La Salle’s Board of Trustees met the Neubauer challenge, spurred additionally by a lead matching gift from Trustee Reginald M. Browne, ’93. And, among other gifts, the Lasallian District of Eastern North America (DENA) contributed $100,000 toward LEAP on La Salle’s annual Day of Giving in March 2022. 

Learn how you can support the LEAP program by contacting John Zabinski, La Salle’s Vice President of University Advancement, at 215-951-1969 or

“At BLOCS, we are committed to providing eligible students in the Philadelphia area access to a safe, high-quality, faith-based education,” said BLOCS CEO Dave Rowan. “And now through our partnership with La Salle, we can ensure our students also have access to a world class advanced education that is crucial for success in today’s workforce.” 

BLOCS provides more than 17,000 need-based scholarships each year to Philadelphia’s 100-plus Archdiocesan schools and more than 300 private Catholic and non-Catholic schools. BLOCS raised an unprecedented $100 million in 2022 in private and corporate donations, and more than 96 cents of every dollar donated to BLOCS is distributed directly to families through BLOCS’ partner schools. 

Read more about the La Salle Early Achievement Program and get to know some of the dual-enrollment students at La Salle 

—Christopher A. Vito