Sweet 16: Welcoming our new class of Dell Scholars

Today, we are excited to announce our 16th class of Dell Scholars. These students have already inspired us with their perseverance, hard work, and determination to make it this far – applying and being accepting to college. Many have overcome significant obstacles to reach this goal, but after 15 years of doing this work, we know that making it to college graduation comes with its own set of challenges, and we are committed to supporting our scholars every step of the way.

Historically, students from disadvantaged backgrounds have enrolled in college at lower rates. In response, efforts nationwide have focused on college access and helping students get “college ready,” preparing them with the knowledge and skills for college-level coursework. There’s no doubt that this work has inspired countless students across the country to pursue higher education; in fact, as reported by Forbes, low-income students are now enrolling in college at an even higher rate than their middle-income peers.

There’s just one problem: after these students enroll in college, many of them aren’t reaching graduation. Nationally, only 20 percent of students like our Dell Scholars will obtain a bachelor’s degree within six years. These students are “college ready,” demonstrating the academic chops – so why aren’t they persisting?

The fact is, academic and financial challenges aren’t the only barriers to reaching a degree. Life happens, and when it comes to family responsibilities, balancing work and school, or the stress of college life, the impact on a student’s college plans can be immense. For students without a robust support system, these bumps in the road can be devastating and may even take them completely off the path to college completion altogether. There’s more that higher ed institutions can do to be “student ready” and remove institutional barriers to help students like ours access the support and resources they need to succeed, but in the meantime, we are helping our scholars on their journey to the graduation stage.

With support along the way, there’s no limit to what these students can accomplish, and the success rate of our scholars is a testament to that –80 percent of Dell Scholars have attained a bachelor’s degree within six years. We are ready to meet and support our new scholars and look forward to forging new relationships with them.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about the Dell Scholars program.

Questions about the Dell Scholars Class of 2019? Email apply@dellscholars.org