By Dylan Deprey
For some, the thought of college is football games, wild parties and late-night cram sessions, but to others the dollar sign shaped cloud looming overhead can hinder and even halt some of the best college prospects.
Scholarships can be a glimmer of hope for students, whether it pays for that mandatory $300 text book or for a meal plan during that first year of campus housing.
There is never anything wrong with free money, especially when it pays for school, and the MPS Senior class of 2017 has racked up a hefty number for the fifth straight year in a row.
Milwaukee Public Schools announced the Class of 2017 received a record breaking $62,742,516* in scholarships during a press conference June 12. The earth-shattering number broke last years $51 million, and was a huge jump from the mere $17 million back in 2012.
Dr. Darienne Driver, Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, congratulated the class of 2017 for breaking the scholarship record.
“It takes hard work and determination by our scholarship winners to accomplish what they have done. We know for many, they could not have accomplished such feats without the support of their parents, families, school counselors, teachers and administrators,” Driver said.
The Class of 2017 was the first to participate in Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP.) The seven-year federal grant is worth more than $28 million and includes eight high schools: Audubon, Bay View, Bradley Tech, Hamilton, Continued on page 8 Madison, Marshall, MHSA and Vincent.
An important part of the TEAM GEAR UP grant was allowing MPS to build relationships with businesses and community partners. It also gave way to create strong partnerships with Wisconsin colleges and universities, including: Alverno College, Cardinal Stritch University, Marquette University, Milwaukee Area Technical College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.
Now as students have an opportunity to get their foot in the door at nearby universities, it may be a helping hand in lowering the retention rate some MPS students find when going to college.
“We always have more work to do to close the achievement gap here in Milwaukee, but it is rare to have something so tangible, and this shows real progress,” Driver said.
The drastic difference in graduation rates in Wisconsin is due to the extremely high graduation rates for white students versus the much lower rates for black students.
In 2013-14, almost 93 percent of white students earned diplomas on time in Wisconsin. On the other hand, the graduation rate for black students was 64.1 percent, which ranked 6th lowest among states, according to the National Center for Education Statistics
“This type of work is vital to the success of Milwaukee’s future workforce. Growing scholarships and better preparing all students for success in college, career and life is critical to MPS’ eight Strategic Objectives”