Wednesday, July 7, 2010

REVIEW: The Detroit College Promise

Most Detroiters have heard of the Kalamazoo Promise that gives Kalamazoo Public School students a FREE ride to college.
But do you know about the Detroit College Promise Program? Guest blogger Liz Parker is back to give us some insight into how the program works...

Nat Pernick, MD, Executive Director of DCP with a scholarship certificate recipient

The Detroit College Promise is a scholarship program that is based on the Kalamazoo Promise. Its sponsor so to speak, is, where I have been working since November of last year. I also work on aspects of the Detroit College Promise, and I have found it to be an interesting and rewarding program, especially for its recipients.

The way it works is this: it is open to all Detroit Public School students, with no GPA (grade point average) criteria. The only criteria is that a student who applies for the scholarship must live in Detroit, attend a Detroit Public School, apply by December 1st during their freshman year of high school, and attend a public university in Michigan. To quote from the DCP webpage:

“For the class of 2009, the scholarship was offered only to seniors at Cody High School who applied by December 1, 2008.

For the class of 2010, the scholarship was offered to all seniors at Cody and Douglass High Schools, and a limited number of scholarships were available to seniors at Cass Tech, Central, Pershing and Trombly High Schools. The application deadline was January 15, 2010.

Beginning with the graduating class of 2011, these scholarships are available to all students who (a) apply by 12/1/2010 or by December 1 of their 9th grade year, and (b) live in Detroit and are enrolled in a DPS high school continuously from the date of application through graduation.”

If a student is a recipient of the scholarship, he/she receives $500 a year to put towards tuition at a Michigan public university, if there is still a balance that has not been paid for by the FAFSA or other scholarships. More detailed information (FAQs) about the scholarship can be found here.

The Executive Director of the Detroit College Promise is Nat Pernick, a pathologist and the founder of and He started the scholarship program in 2008, and since then it has grown tremendously; as of this month (June 2010) over 3,000 students are registered for the scholarship. We also have many donors who have contributed towards paying for the scholarships, and this year a “Letter of Encouragement” campaign was started, in which we give our 9th graders letters that others have written about their high school and college experiences, and growing up during tough times. We have received many of these letters, and each 9th grader, after applying for the scholarship, receives a “goody bag” with assorted college paraphernalia, a Scholarship Certificate, and one or two Letters of Encouragement.

· To find out more about the Detroit College Promise, please visit us on the web at

· If you are a Detroit Public School student or know someone who would like to apply, visit our Procedures page at

Liz Parker is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan. She currently works as an Assistant Medical Editor for a pathology website. Visit her at her movie blog Yes/No Films.
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