DETROIT – A program working to ensure Detroiters have a tuition-free path to college is hosting a college fair this weekend.
Detroit Promise offers scholarships to qualified students graduating from Detroit high schools. The program allows students to pursue an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or technical certificate at participating academic institutions.
More than 5,000 students have enrolled in the program since its launch in 2013.
One of the biggest challenges the program faces is getting the information out there. Of the approximately 5,000 high school seniors eligible each year for the program, only about 1,000 of them participate.
“Building awareness is something that we’re actively always trying to do in the community or in the schools,” Jade Scott, director of outreach & partnerships with Detroit Promise, said. “We’re trying to let students know that there is a path for you.”
Many students enrolled in the program say the Detroit Promise was their best shot at a college degree.
“My first option was college and my second was the military like the rest of my family and Detroit promise gave me the option to pursue college debt-free,” said Wayne State University student Makayla Sears.
Other students said the opportunity of a tuition-free path made higher education a reality.
“I kind of always think in the back of my head if I didn’t have (Detroit Promise) I don’t know if I would consider college just because I know it’s expensive and coming from a low-income family, college wasn’t always a priority,” said Henry Ford College Student Ramon Morones Jr.
Another student told Local 4 that the program’s support system and mentorship have helped her succeed.
“It helps me to aspire higher,” Oakland Community College student Kayla Jones said.
Detroit Promise will be hosting a harvest-themed college fair for the Detroit community on Oct. 29 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Durfee Innovation Center.