Wayne State University made a big splash this week, announcing that it will give free tuition to students who live in Detroit starting with students who graduate from high school next year. The University is calling it the Heart of Detroit Promise.
But what’s the likely impact of the program?
Detroit Today’s Stephen Henderson sits down with Wayne State University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Keith Whitfield to talk about the announcement.
“This isn’t considered to be a pilot, this is something we are really committing ourselves,” says Whitfield.
“This is a tuition pledge this would cover tuition and fees for students who live in the city of Detroit and it covers students in charter schools, get GEDs, whatever it is that when they graduate in May 2020 that’s when the program would start for them,” says Whitfield.
In discussing the difference between this and the Detroit Promise, Whitfield says, “There are a couple of other schools that have other programs. Ours is designed on who we are as a university. When we said we want to be able to provide those opportunities, we focused on the home team of where we started, but our plan is to hopefully expand. Detroit Promise helps but there’s still that’s actually needed to find higher education for students.”
How many more students would be affected by the Pledge: “How many more students? We don’t know. I think we have modeled somewhere between 500 and 1,000,” says Whitfield.
“Just because school is paid for doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful. We also want to make sure that when students get there, they have all the support that they need,” says Whifield. “The idea of free tuition, that is one of our primary ways to keep the doors open” and make sure higher education is accessible, adds Whitfield.
Click on the player above to hear the full conversation.
Disclosure: 101.9 is licensed by Wayne State University but remains editorially independent.