The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Awards $6,000,000 in Scholarships to 300 Graduating Seniors
AUSTIN, Texas, April 10, 2009 — As part of a scholarship program unique in the type of students it supports and its retention rates that far exceed the national average, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation's Dell Scholars Program today awarded 300 students with $6,000,000 in college scholarship funds. To date, the Dell Scholars Program has awarded 1,250 scholarships and paid out $25 million in scholarship funds.
Most of the Dell Scholars are first-generation college students and are chosen because they participate in an approved college readiness program and maintain at least a 2.4 grade point average on a 4.0 scale while dealing with personal responsibilities at home or in their communities. Dell Scholars will receive $20,000 each to continue their higher education for the next six years. More than just a check, the Dell Scholars Program also provides its students with technology, resources and mentoring to ensure they have the support they need to obtain a college degree. The additional resources have contributed to the program's retention rate of more than 90 percent, well above the national average of 22 percent for students with the same socioeconomic profile.
"Our Dell Scholars don't fit the typical merit-based scholar profile," said Kevin Byrne, director, Dell Scholars Program at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. "Rather, we award low-income or financially underserved students who are better than their numbers may indicate in GPAs or test scores, and who have overcome some significant obstacles to pursue their education. Because we believe a college education can help break the cycle of poverty, we aim to provide these students with everything they need to obtain a college degree and fulfill their dreams."
In addition to GPA and college readiness program participation, Dell Scholars requirements also include graduation from an accredited high school, demonstrated financial need and intent to enter a bachelor's degree program at an accredited higher education institution in the fall. The Dell Scholars Program uses its custom-built software with a sophisticated algorithm that helps predict a student's propensity to graduate from college based on several factors, despite the personal challenges these determined, low-income students must address in their lives.