The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has announced scholarships totaling $6 million to three hundred high school seniors through its Dell Scholars program, boosting the total amount awarded by the foundation since the program's inception to $37 million.
As in previous years, the scholars will each receive $20,000 to complete their college education within six years, along with technology, mentoring, and other resources of support. According to foundation officials, the additional resources are a big reason for the program's graduation rate of almost 85 percent, well above the national average of 23 percent for students with the same socioeconomic profile.
Typically first-generation college students, Dell Scholars must have completed an approved college readiness program and maintained at least a 2.4 grade point average on a 4.0 scale to qualify. While most of the scholarship recipients are from communities of color and have a lower socioeconomic status and fewer resources than the average college student, they also show a propensity to succeed based on their ability to overcome personal obstacles in their lives.
"We hope to change the way our country approaches its support for low-income, high-risk students who are more than what their numbers indicate," said Dell Foundation co-founder Michael Dell. "The track record of the Dell Scholars Program proves that combining financial assistance with mentoring and support services is a successful formula for helping these students obtain a college degree. We believe that more money doesn't necessarily mean better outcomes, which is why we put more emphasis on student retention and graduation than on even the size of the financial reward."
For a complete list of this year's Dell Scholars, visit the program's Web site.