--Beyond Financial Support, the Dell Scholars Program Provides Critical Services and Mentoring to Help Low-Income Students Graduate from College--AUSTIN, Texas, April 10, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation today announced its 11th class of Dell Scholars, providing 300 students with the chance to obtain a college degree. The program offers resources and mentoring, in addition to financial assistance, to ensure low-income, at-risk students have the comprehensive support needed to successfully earn a bachelor's degree. To date, and despite the challenges in their lives, the program has helped a total of 867 students complete college with a degree in hand while another 1,650 are currently working toward graduation.
College completion can be a significant challenge for low-income students due to rising costs of higher education and debt often associated with it. Research shows that these high-risk students are more likely to drop out of college due to pressure from financial difficulties, family responsibilities and work hours. Driven by this reality, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation's innovative approach aims to not only get more students to college, but also invests in services that will significantly increase their chances of achieving success with lower than average debt. As a result, 80 percent of Dell Scholars graduate in a six-year period – significantly higher than the national average of 19 percent[i] of students in the same socio-economic category.
"It's our belief that all students – regardless of their economic status – should have the opportunity to receive a college degree," said Janet Mountain, executive director of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. "We work to understand the obstacles that this group of students faces, and then provide them with the support they need. With Dell Scholar Program graduation rates above the national average, we are seeing more promising results with our program each year."
The Dell Scholars Program takes a multifaceted approach to its college completion program. In addition to providing financial support to each student, the program offers wrap-around services to help scholars and their families overcome personal challenges that could adversely affect a student's ability to graduate. These challenges fall within the areas of academic, financial and personal issues – all of which the program is equipped to address in order for the scholar to complete the courses required to obtain a bachelor's degree.
Upon being accepted into the program, scholars become part of a support network comprised of their schools, families, peers and a dedicated Dell Scholars Program team at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. This network offers technology, mentoring and peer interaction – all with one goal in mind: to ensure every Dell Scholar earns a college degree.
"I'm excited to meet and work with this new group of scholars," said Oscar Sweeten-Lopez of the Dell Scholars Program at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. "It is always amazing to see how determined these students are in their quest to graduate from college. We have found that, with the right support, they are unstoppable."
Since the program's inception, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has awarded $63.9 million in scholarships, which includes $20,000 and essential technology for each Dell Scholar.
Tweet this: @msdf_foundation announces #dellscholars class of 2014. See a list of the scholars here: http://msdf.co/1k8TbXm
About the Dell Scholars Program
The Dell Scholars Program is a college completion program unique in the type of students it supports and how it fosters those students on their path to a college degree. An initiative of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Dell Scholars Program provides its students with resources and mentoring beyond initial financial assistance to ensure they have the support they need to obtain a bachelor's degree. Follow us on Twitter.
About the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
Michael and Susan Dell established the foundation in 1999. The gift was inspired by their passion for supporting children's causes as a way to make an even greater difference in a measurable way, particularly for those children living in urban poverty. Based in Austin, TX, the Dell family foundation funds programs that foster high-quality public education and childhood health, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty. To date, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has committed more than $1 billion to assist nonprofit organizations working in major urban communities in the United States, India and South Africa. We focus on opportunities with the greatest potential to directly and measurably transform the lifelong outcomes of impoverished urban children around the globe. Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.
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*[i] "19.9% for those from the bottom quartile of family income, below about $36,080." Source: Postsecondary Education Opportunity November 2010 www.postsecondary.org
SOURCE The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
|The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation