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Detroit Promise Summer Ceremony Celebrates Start of New Year for College-Bound Students

Over 100 Detroit students and their families filled the city’s Northwest Activities Center on Wednesday to celebrate the start of a new school year as new and continuing scholars in the four-year pilot for the Detroit Promise scholarship program. The program, administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber, guarantees a tuition-free path to a participating college or university to qualifying Detroit high school graduates.

This year, 400 Detroit-resident students are eligible for the Detroit Promise four-year scholarship track and over 200 have registered to attend in the fall. In addition, 3,672 students are eligible for the two-year community college track and 515 have registered to attend one of five participating colleges in Southeast Michigan.

During a keynote address, Dan Varner, CEO of Excellent Schools Detroit, congratulated students and encouraged them to redefine themselves as they move forward in their college experience. Students also heard from Detroit Promise staff and reviewed the benefits and requirements of being a program scholar.

“It’s a wonderful achievement to be a Detroit Promise scholar. The program will alleviate the financial pressure of paying for college and allow me to concentrate on my school work,” said Brandy Beckwell, a graduate of Renaissance High School.

Beckwell plans to study public relations at Michigan State University.

“I hope to take the support the Detroit Promise has given me, not only financially but emotionally, and to give back to the community and city that I love,” she said.

Following the presentations, students met with representatives from Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, Oakland University, University of Michigan, UM-Dearborn, University of Detroit Mercy, and Western Michigan University to learn about student success programs.

Since spring 2013, the Detroit Promise has been administered by the Chamber on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation.