Beginning in January, 120 students from two Michigan school districts will have the opportunity to take part in a college-preparatory program that could earn them a full-tuition scholarship to the University of Michigan (UM) in Ann Arbor.
Last week, UM President Mark Schlissel announced a program titled Wolverine Pathways as part of his push to increase the racial and socioeconomic diversity of the university’s student body. Sixty seventh graders and 60 high school sophomores from the Southfield and Ypsilanti school districts will be selected for the program and be able to enroll at no cost. UM plans to eventually expand the program to include all students from grades seven through 12.
“Inseparable from our efforts to enhance our academic excellence as a public good is our work to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Michigan,” Schlissel said when announcing the new program. “We cannot be excellent without being diverse, in the broadest sense of that word.”
During eight-week sessions in the fall, winter, and summer, students in Wolverine Pathways will work with tutors in the areas of math, English, and science. Fall and winter sessions will meet after school and on Saturday mornings. Students who complete the program successfully and who apply and are admitted to UM will earn a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the university.
According to The Michigan Daily, this year UM enrolled its most diverse freshman class since 2005. Minority students make up 12.8 percent of the incoming freshmen class, a 2.8 percent increase from last year. Universities in Michigan saw significant drops in the enrollment of minority students following a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision that banned the use of race-based affirmative action at public universities in the state.
Schlissel also credited Kedra Ishop, associate vice president for enrollment management, and her team for making changes in financial aid, recruitment, and admission policies that have positively impacted the enrollment of underrepresented minority students at UM.