|Denver’s New Privately-Funded Scholarship Program to Be One of Nation’s Largest
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, November 9, 2007
Kim Sporrer, Linhart McClain Finlon Public Relations, 303-951-2562
Lindy Eichenbaum Lent, Mayor's Office, 720-865-9016
Denver Public Schools, 720-423-3305
Denver’s New Privately-Funded Scholarship Program to Be One of Nation’s Largest
Denver Scholarship Foundation Launches Pilot Program with Multi-Million Dollar Challenge Grant, Creating New Opportunity for Denver Students’ Post-High School Education
(DENVER) Denver business, community and education leaders today announced the formation of the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF), a new privately-funded post-secondary school access program created for Denver Public Schools (DPS) students to significantly increase their ability to achieve a post-high school education regardless of financial constraints. Nearly 1,000 students and local leaders attended the news conference and student rally where the program was announced, at South High School in Denver.
The newly-endowed scholarship foundation will fund a pilot program in three schools in 2007, made possible by a multi-million dollar challenge grant from Denver business leaders Tim and Bernadette Marquez. The pilot program provides immediate support and scholarship opportunities to nearly 900 students at Abraham Lincoln, Montbello and South High Schools in Denver. Students enrolled in these three pilot schools as of October 2, 2006 and who graduate from one of these high schools during the 2006-2007 academic year are eligible for consideration for a scholarship from DSF. The schools were chosen by the Foundation as pilot schools because they are varied in location and composition.
“The Denver Scholarship Program is one of the most important undertakings in Denver’s history,” said DSF Co-Founder Tim Marquez. “The time is now for our community to step up and take care of our youth, who are the future of our city.” Marquez is the founder and CEO of a leading Denver oil and gas company and a graduate of Abraham Lincoln High in Denver.
DSF will expand beyond the pilot schools to all DPS high schools for the graduating class of 2008. When fully funded by the community in five years, the Denver Scholarship Foundation is intended to be one of the nation’s largest privately-funded college access programs, with a goal of annually funding $20 million in scholarships for nearly 6,000 DPS graduates participating in advanced education in Colorado.
“For a couple of years now, we’ve been talking about a citywide commitment to the vision that all Denver graduates should be able to attend college regardless of their financial situation,” said Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who is also a DSF board member. “It’s not only an investment in our community’s economic future, but it’s also a way to provide hope and motivation to our students - getting them to stay in school and work harder by knowing that the opportunity for college exists. We are grateful to Tim and Bernadette Marquez for sharing this vision, creating a foundation to deliver opportunity to Denver students and benefits to our public schools and city as a whole.”
“The supporters and founders have a shared vision that the Denver Public School System can become the best urban school district in the United States,” said Denver Public Schools Superintendent and DSF board member Michael Bennet. “We’re substantially building a culture of success for the students in our community.”
DSF scholarships will cover a student’s unmet need up to the cost of in-state tuition and fees for the post-secondary school the student attends plus the cost of books and supplies as determined annually by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Unmet need is determined by subtracting a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and all forms of gift aid (federal, state, institutional and other grants and scholarships) from the total cost of attendance for the student’s choice of school. The Foundation is also seeking other benefactors to provide needy students with computers for post-secondary studies.
“With our 2007 pilot program, we expect to assist 900 Denver students in finding the resources they need to fund their post-high school educations,” said DSF Executive Director Dr. Janet Gullickson. “Assuming that we provide financing to cover about 600 of those students’ unmet needs, which we estimate to be on average about 20 percent of a students’ total cost of attendance, we expect to spend a minimum of $3 million in the first year of the foundation.”
DSF’s pilot program scholarships require that students must have been in attendance at one of the three high schools as of October 2 of this year, graduate, and be accepted by a Colorado post-secondary school such as a university, college or technical school determined eligible by DSF.
Graduates in 2007 not attending one of the three pilot schools will be eligible for post-secondary scholarships beginning in the 2008-2009 fall term as long as they meet all eligibility requirements in effect at that time. Students may use a DSF scholarship at 33 Colorado technical colleges and two- and four-year colleges and universities.
Students are now in the process of attending college nights, taking college entrance exams, applying to post-secondary schools and preparing information to secure financial aid. DSF is also scheduling parent information nights at the pilot schools. Beginning January 9, 2007, students may begin completing DSF scholarship applications online at www.denverscholarship.org.
“The Denver Scholarship Foundation is much more than a scholarship-granting organization,” said Dr. Gullickson. “Together with the public schools and other supporters, we’re creating a one-stop-shop for financial assistance and a community-based mentoring and counseling program for students to help ensure their success. Our intention is to work closely with the Denver Public Schools to support their ‘Denver Plan’ to make DPS the best urban school district in the country and a model for other cities.”
DSF is establishing partnerships with corporations, individuals, other foundations, and Colorado higher education institutions to identify and secure additional and new matching scholarships. It will also conduct major annual giving campaigns to garner financial support from every resident in Denver and beyond. It is creating “Future Centers” within Denver high schools, starting with the pilot schools, which will offer all students expert assistance with school selection, application, financial aid processes, career planning, workshops and adult mentors by partnering with existing pre-collegiate services.
“The Denver Scholarship Foundation is one of the most inspiring and exciting projects I’ve ever been a part of,” said DSF Co-Founder Bernadette Marquez. “To be able to assist DPS graduates on their paths to success is a privilege.”
# # #