UM to Expand Socioeconomic Diversity with Full-Tuition Scholarships

A scholarship program being piloted at the University of Michigan (UM) aims to increase diversity at the institution by awarding four-year, full-tuition scholarships to high-achieving, low-income Michigan students.

The High Achieving Involved Leader (HAIL) scholarship is valued at $60,000 and will include extra resources to assist students with the application process. The program is targeted at Michigan high school seniors from rural and suburban schools, as well as urban schools, who demonstrate financial need and academic promise.

The scholarship program is one of UM President Mark Schlissel’s diversity-related initiatives. He told The Ann Arbor News that increasing faculty and student diversity at the university is one of his top priorities.

“I think it’s extremely important to find ways to make a university that looks like the state and the nation that we serve,” Schlissel said. “Not just race and ethnicity, but socioeconomic diversity, geographic diversity, religious diversity, diversity of thought. The more robustly diverse we can be, the stronger an academic university we’re going to be.”

By providing assistance and waiving some application fees, UM hopes to remove one of the factors that keeps low-income students from applying to highly selective schools.

“There is a lot of research indicating that high-achieving, low-income students do not apply to selective colleges at the same rate as their higher-income peers,” Kedra Ishop, associate vice president for enrollment management at UM, said in a press release.

Students must first apply and be admitted to UM in order to be eligible for the scholarship. The university has not indicated how many HAIL scholarships will be awarded.