As part of MDC’s ongoing commitment to equity and access for all students, the College is launching the Rising Scholars Program, a groundbreaking initiative that will provide Black students graduating from high school in 2021 with free tuition for up to two years of study, creating a coherent academic and career pathway leading to an associate degree and increased earning potential. The program will kick-off on June 21, during the second six-week summer session.
“MDC has a longstanding tradition of identifying and meeting the needs of the local community, while also blazing a trail as a national model,” said MDC President Madeline Pumariega. “The Rising Scholars program is a perfect example, as it aims to close the gap in graduation rates and create new opportunities for underserved students.”
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While the nation re-evaluates the equity and social justice existent for people of color, particularly for its Black population, MDC has engaged in a self-study to understand the gaps that remain in achieving equitable outcomes for its students. An initial review of data shows that while Black residents comprise 18 percent of the population in Miami-Dade County, they only represent 15 percent of the overall student population at MDC. There is also a significant drop in their retention from year-to-year compared to other students. Additionally, while Black students at MDC graduate at higher rates than all students at the national level, there is a 5 percent gap between their graduation rate and that of other students at the college.
The Rising Scholars Program at MDC strives to give Black students an early start on their college education. The initiative aims to increase college going rates by providing academic experiences that equip students with the resources, skills and support necessary for academic success and completion. Students will receive free tuition for up to 30 credits plus fees per year, book stipend, laptop computer and scholarship opportunities. Participants will also be connected to short-term career-focused credentials that increase earning potential, internship opportunities, academic advisement and resume assistance.
“This initiative will help advance equity for educational excellence, student access and success,” said MDC Provost Dr. Malou Harrison. “We are excited to offer this unique opportunity to Black students to grow as global citizens and gain the skills and knowledge employers are seeking.”