Denison University announces an exciting new partnership with I Know I Can to make college more accessible to students from Columbus. Each year, Denison will fund up to 20 full-tuition scholarships for qualified graduating seniors from high schools in the Columbus City School District. With 20 entering students each year, the new program will accommodate up to 80 students at Denison in any given academic year.
Denison has long been recognized as a leader in accessibility and affordability for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and this new program augments the college's already robust commitment to generous aid for qualified students. Last year, Denison provided from its own resources more than $59 million in grants and scholarships for its students.
Partnering with I Know I Can, a nonprofit organization that works with Columbus City Schools, the program will provide pre-collegiate training and support for students, many of whom may be the first in their family to attend college. Support will continue throughout the students’ tenures, ensuring strong graduation rates and post-collegiate employment opportunities.
The new initiative, titled the Denison-Columbus Alliance Scholars program, builds upon lessons learned by Denison over 15 years working in partnership with some of the top mentoring and college access programs in the country. President Adam Weinberg stated, “Taking everything we have learned, we have built a program that will bring a cohort of students from Columbus City Schools to Denison, providing the mentorship and support they need over a four-year period to gain a world class education and graduate ready to succeed in their professional pursuits.”
Students will be selected in fall of their senior year. Prior to the students’ arrival on campus, Denison and I Know I Can will run a six month college preparation program that will consists of bi-weekly meetings and visits to Denison with the goal being to prepare students with the skills and knowledge needed for college success.
Once on campus, the students will continue to participate in regular meetings with their cohort and faculty mentor as well as in bi-annual retreats, ensuring that students successfully transition into college and succeed. The programming will address the academic, social and emotional issues that arise in college.
The Denison-Columbus Alliance Scholars program also will give students opportunities to use the winter and summer breaks between semesters to focus on life and jobs skills. Pulling from Denison’s extensive network in Columbus, students will have access to alumni coaches who will help them use the breaks for internships, externships, seminars and other projects that allows them to explore potential professional pathways. Students will also engage in community projects that “give back” to Columbus.
The Denison-Columbus Alliance Scholars program is part of a broader effort by Denison to augment its leadership on college affordability and career success. One out of every five Denison students is the first in their family to attend college. The debt levels of Denison graduates are among the lowest of all private colleges and universities in Ohio. In recent research, the college found that 90 percent of its graduates are employed, in grad school, or participating in a prestigious service program within six months of commencement, and 96 percent of its alumni are successfully transitioned into their chosen professional pathway within five years of graduation.
President Adam Weinberg remarked, “Denison is fortunate to be financially healthy and to have a large endowment. We want to give students a world-class liberal arts education and then support them as they transition into their careers.”
Denison Provost Kim Coplin remarked, “What’s unique about this program is the level of mentorship and support across their entire college career. Students will have faculty mentors, alumni career coaches and support from I Know I Can staff. It demonstrates the power of high touch liberal arts college.”
The program will launch in the spring of 2016, when nominations will open. Finalists will be chosen in the fall of 2016, and the program will open to its first cohort in the spring of 2017 for the entering class of 2021.
“The Columbus Foundation recognizes the extraordinary commitment of Denison University to make the completion of a college education both possible and affordable to students from Columbus City Schools through this new partnership with I Know I Can,” said Douglas F. Kridler, president and CEO of The Columbus Foundation. “When I Know I Can was founded more than 25 years ago, the central Ohio community came together to support the idea that college should be accessible for all and that students should not be denied an education because they could not afford it. Denison University’s new program is a remarkable example of preparing students for success before and during college, and through employment opportunities.”
“I Know I Can is honored to be a partner in this initiative,” said Katina Fullen, executive director of I Know I Can. “The Denison-Columbus Alliance Scholars program provides Columbus City Schools students not only the opportunity to attend an incredible higher education institution, but also the support of its faculty and staff who want to see every student succeed. It is not often that an opportunity like this is presented, and I Know I Can is dedicated to its role of ensuring that students are prepared to enroll, persist, and complete college.”
President Weinberg summarized, “Our relationship with I Know I Can runs deep. It has evolved over many years of working together. We are excited to build on it to create exciting new opportunities for Columbus City School students.”
To apply for the Denison-Columbus Alliance Scholarship, students must complete the scholarship application by October 3, 2016, and apply for admission to Denison by November 1, 2016. The scholarship application can be obtained from your high school guidance counselor or from an I Know I Can College Advising Manager. It is free to apply for admission to Denison.