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Among the estimated 4,000 students expected to attend the University of Arizona's commencement ceremony on Saturday will be members of the third graduating class of the Arizona Assurance Scholars program.

The program provides financial support to low-income students from around the state, enabling them to complete their degrees with as little debt as possible.

Christine Salvessen, the director of the program, said Arizona Assurance helps many students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend college.

"Many of these students are first generation, all are low-income," she said. "And for them college isn’t necessarily an option because of the cost…and so to be able to provide them with this financial assistance – it’s made it possible for them to come to the University of Arizona, be successful, and graduate."

The scholarships cover tuition, fees, books and room and board.

Salvessen said it differs from standard financial aid because Arizona Assurance also provides a wide range of academic support depending on individual needs.

More than 2,000 students are attending the university through the Arizona Assurance program.