Inspiring education

The Detroit Scholarship Fund helps pay for college

By Elizabeth Casella
Staff Writer

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SCHOOLCRAFT ARCHIVES The bell tower is a symbol of Schoolcraft that is as equally important as the Ocelot. It is one of the few original assets of the campus left today.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE SCHOOLCRAFT ARCHIVES
The bell tower is a symbol of Schoolcraft that is as equally important as the Ocelot. It is one of the few original assets of the campus left today.

Since 2013 the Detroit Scholarship Fund (DSF) has been offering 500 to 600 students across Detroit high schools the opportunity to go to get a higher education. The DSF is administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber, which ensures that the students who are awarded the funds have a tuition-free opportunity to receive an associate degree or technical certificate at any of the five participating colleges in Michigan, Schoolcraft being one of them.

“I was asked to give a presentation to students (who received the DSF) regarding student success. The students who attended our session were very focused and excited to be coming to Schoolcraft College,” said Dr. Deborah Daiek, Dean of Education Programs.

Schoolcraft and the other five colleges offer continued support to the students in the DSF program throughout their time attending their college with whatever their needs are. They also work with the DSF coordinators hand in hand to ensure the success of these students.

The Detroit Scholarship Fund is meant to be a supplement to the students after all state and federal grants the students receive are used. The funds that are raised by the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation cover the difference so that students do not need to accept loans, pay out of pocket or use any other outside scholarships. Administrators of the DSF work endless hours throughout the year to not only recruit students, but to educate them about the scholarship and help ensure their success while continually supporting them throughout the program.

The main goal of this fund is to give Detroit students with the passion and drive to go to college the chance to do so, when circumstances might prevent them from doing so otherwise.

“Education attainment drives economic vitality and fortunately Southeast Michigan is blessed with many top-notch institutions of higher education. Helping more kids gain access to and succeed in college will have a dramatic economic impact in Southeast Michigan. The Chamber is committed to increasing these types of opportunities and working with partners like Schoolcraft College,” said Detroit Regional Chamber administrator James Martinez.

The impact this fund has on the lives of students in Detroit can be seen by the higher rates of high school graduation and the rising number of students that apply for the fund every year. This fund requires day-to-day operations and staff to meet the needs of the community. The impact the fund has had is raising the overall graduation rates of students in Southeast Michigan, specifically Detroit native students. The scholarship foundation is estimated to have nearly doubled the number of Detroit students enrolled in a full-time community college each year.

The coordinators at the scholarship fund are all very dedicated to improving the educational community in Detroit and are committed to seeing students continue onto secondary education levels.

“I find my work quite fulfilling as I am able to help foster educational equity and economic development, and I have the opportunity to help younger students prepare for postsecondary options,” said Stacy Boone, Detroit Scholarship Fund Coordinator and Detroit Regional Chamber representative.

The scholarship offers other benefits to recipients beyond tuition fees and expenses such as mentoring sessions, providing in-person support on campus and supporting a text message hotline as a way to connect with the students. The program is about not only increasing access to education, but providing the support needed by students in order to ensure success. More information regarding the DSF can be found at detroitchamber.com.

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