HFCC Receives Major Grant to Implement Scholarship America’s Dreamkeepers Program

Dreamkeepers addresses college drop-out rates by providing assistance to students facing unexpected financial emergencies

Henry Ford Community College announced recently that after a nationwide search, Scholarship America – the nation’s premier education service organization – has selected Henry Ford Community College to participate in the Dreamkeepers program beginning Fall 2010.

HFCC earned selection to participate in the program because of the institution’s increasing enrollment of underserved and first-generation students, exemplary educational programs that prepare professionals for the new knowledge economy and ability of the college to serve individuals who have recently lost their jobs and seek new skills and training in high-demand industries. Specifically, HFCC won an $85,000 grant, which provides funding to design and implement the program for students over the next three years. This funding is made available through a unique partnership between the Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education and the Walmart Foundation.

According to recent research, unexpected financial setbacks are one of the top reasons students drop out of school. The Dreamkeepers program is designed to keep students in school in spite of these setbacks.

Dr. Gail Mee, president of HFCC, is pleased with this opportunity to further support students in achieving a college education and believes this grant will provide the critical support necessary to keep those students on the brink of leaving college fully engaged in their education.

“Henry Ford Community College prides itself on helping students achieve academically and move into rewarding professional careers,” she said, adding that with this grant, “we can insure that students who wish to earn their degree but find themselves in vulnerable financial positions will now have an additional support mechanism to continue their studies without worry.”

Donald Lassere, senior vice president of Scholarship America, said that Dreamkeepers “has proven to be a catalyst that keeps students enrolled in their college programs. In fact, 84 percent of students who received assistance in 2008 either reenrolled in school the following semester or graduated – compared with the national average of 55 percent. We’re thrilled to assist Henry Ford Community College implement the Dreamkeepers program and keep more of their students in school.”

Scholarship America will provide onsite support and training to help each of the new colleges establish the program and raise funds to ensure its long-term success. Scholarship America will also provide an online application tool and online financial literacy tool for the students.

Since 2004, Scholarship America has distributed nearly $1.1 million in student grants through the Dreamkeepers program. To date, the average student grant of $523 has been used for purposes like housing, utilities, meals, childcare, transportation or car repairs. Now in 31 schools across the country, Scholarship America plans to continue raising funds so additional community colleges can offer the Dreamkeepers program as part of their overall efforts to improve graduation rates.

About Scholarship America

Scholarship America is a national education service organization that mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. Since 1958, Scholarship America has awarded more than $2 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 1.7 million students through three core programs Dollars for Scholars, Scholarship Management Services, and Dreamkeepers. More information is available at www.scholarshipamerica.org and at www.dreamkeepers.org.