AUSTIN, Texas, April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation announced its 13th class of Dell Scholars, providing 350 low-income, determined students the support they need to be successful in college. A new report sites that Dell Scholars are 25 percent more likely to earn their bachelor's degrees four to six years after high school graduation as compared to students with the same socio-economic backgrounds. To date, The Dell Scholars Program has supported a total of 1,401 Dell Scholars to college graduation.
Established in 2004, the Dell Scholars Program may serve as an important model for how to improve college success for low-income, first-generation students. The program is achieving these high graduation rates through a wide range of support services including both financial assistance and counseling to students.
"It's amazing to see how our learnings from 12 years of working with these determined, hard-working students is paying off," said Janet Mountain, executive director, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. "My hope is that other scholarship programs incorporate this level of support for students to make an even greater impact."
Each Dell Scholar receives $20,000, totaling $68.3 million in scholarships over the 12 years. The program also provides each student with essential technology, such as a laptop and textbook credits to further decrease the cost of college.
While financial support is critical, the other issues that arise can also derail students and cause them to drop out of college before graduation. Navigating rigorous coursework, learning how to live away from home and managing time effectively are just a few of the challenges students face once they get to campus. Those pressures can have real consequences. Up to 75 percent of all college drop-out decisions among historically underrepresented students are non-academic in nature, according to a 2012 report by the National College Access Network and Institute for Higher Education Policy.
To support students through these challenges, the Dell Scholars Program has developed an extensive onboarding process that aims at identifying potential obstacles students might face once they arrive on campus. As soon as Dell Scholars are selected, the program begins to work with them to establish a customized college success plan helping them identify and plan for any potential challenges. By providing support so early in the process, the program helps students avoid "melting" away during the summer between the end of high school and beginning of college, commonly referred to as summer melt.
"We continue to push the envelope by regularly innovating to help students get to and through college," Oscar Sweeten-Lopez, Portfolio Director of the Dell Scholars Program, said. "We'll do what it takes until we see graduation rates at 100 percent. That's our promise to these students."
Additionally, Dell Scholars receive a private scholar networking community, resources, and mentoring to ensure they have the support they need to achieve their college degrees. Scholars become part of a support network for each other that is made up of themselves, their schools, families, peers and a dedicated Dell Scholar team at the Michael & Susan Dell foundation.
Tweet this: Welcome @DellScholars class of 2016! See a list of new scholars here: http://www.dellscholars.org/scholars/ #MoreThanDollarsForScholars
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
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (www.msdf.org) is dedicated to improving the lives of children living in urban poverty around the world. Headquartered in Austin, TX with satellite office in New Delhi, India and Cape Town, South Africa, the Dell family foundation funds programs that foster high-quality public education and childhood wellness, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty. The foundation has committed more than $1.2 billion to global children's issues and community initiatives to date.
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SOURCE Michael & Susan Dell Foundation