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CMU and American Promise Schools to offer Detroit students affordable college education

Partnership demonstrates university’s commitment to community, accessible learning

Contact: Heather Smith

Central Michigan University today announces a partnership with American Promise Schools to ensure students from two Detroit charter public high schools have the financial ability to earn a college degree.

"This program with high school students in Detroit continues Central Michigan University's long-standing commitment to the residents of Michigan's trademark city," CMU President George E. Ross said. "We are pleased to partner with American Promise Schools so that academically promising students have the opportunity to discover their future, their true self and their path forward at CMU."

As many as 50 students — 25 from Consortium College Prep and 25 from Jalen Rose Leadership Academy — will receive a $3,000 grant from American Promise Schools, which manages the two high schools. CMU in turn will award a renewable scholarship and work-study support for up to four years to the students, who must accept the maximum $3,500 annual federal Stafford Student Loan in addition to whatever federal and other financial aid they receive. CMU's contributions will cover the remainder of the costs of tuition, room and board, and books.

Melissa Hamann, CEO of American Promise Schools, said Detroit-area high school graduates often are discouraged after working hard academically to gain admission to a university but financially are unable to  cover expenses.

"The CMU-APS program offers a roadmap to an affordable education," Hamann said. "Students are invested in the partnership because they are required to accept a reasonable federal student loan. APS is invested through its financial contribution, plus the program gives us an opportunity to leverage our relationships with foundations, corporations and individuals to raise money in support of advancing educational opportunities for Detroit students."

Steven Johnson, CMU's vice president of enrollment and student services, said the partnership will enable underserved students in Detroit to see college as a realistic, attainable goal and to become leaders in their careers and community.

"We care deeply about the struggles of students who work hard and earn admission to CMU, but who can't afford to attend," Johnson said. "Together, CMU and American Promise Schools are giving students an equal opportunity to discover an exciting career path, earn a degree and then go on to put their stamp on the world.

"Last year, CMU increased institutional financial aid by $6 million and financial aid packages were re-engineered to award more and larger merit scholarships to prospective students," Johnson said. "With this increase, the university invested a record $61 million in making college education more accessible and affordable for families. We also distributed close to $300 million in private, state and federal financial aid awards and grants.

"This new opportunity with APS gives underserved students in Detroit a shot at the American dream," he said.

Close to 80 percent of CMU's 27,000 students receive some form of financial aid.

CMU has a close relationship with the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, which is one of more than 60 charter public schools authorized by the university. The CMU Board of Trustees authorized the high school in 2011. In addition to their schoolwork, its students have opportunities to experience life on CMU's campus, develop leadership skills with CMU's Leadership Institute and participate in Men About Change programs in Mount Pleasant.

"The relationship between CMU and the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is an example of how the university and the charter schools it authorizes work together," said Cindy Schumacher, executive director of The Governor John Engler Center for Charter Schools at CMU. "We collaborate to ensure students have the experiences and resources needed to be prepared for success in college, work and life."

Consortium College Prep is authorized by Ferris State University.

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Eligible students at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and Consortium College Prep must meet the following six criteria for an award and participation:

  1. ​Receive a recommendation from their high school principal;
  2. Have an ACT composite score of 17 or higher, or an SAT score of 1230 or higher, and a grade point average of 2.75 or higher when applying to CMU;
  3. Apply to CMU consistent with regular admissions deadlines and be accepted for the academic year beginning the fall semester following their high school graduation;
  4. Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form by April 1, preceding the start of fall semester classes;
  5. Agree to borrow the grade-level maximum amount of Federal Direct Subsidized Loan each year of attendance; and
  6. Progress to a new grade level each academic year.

CMU's Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid will work with its first cohort of PMP award recipients beginning Fall 2015.​

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