UNT Dallas and Education is Freedom announce $2.5 million scholarship program to benefit Dallas ISD youth

DALLAS (Mar. 30, 2009) — Dallas ISD students involved in the Education is Freedom (EIF) nonprofit program got a big boost today as the University of North Texas Dallas Campus announced plans to offer $2.5 million in scholarship assistance for tuition, fees and other costs at the future UNT Dallas between 2010 and 2015.  The financial aid program comes at a critical time, as money for college continues to tighten. Any student who successfully completes EIF’s rigorous program and meets the admission requirements of the UNT Dallas Campus will be eligible for the scholarship funds.

Read EIF CEO Marcus Martin’s Paycheck is only one benefit of college from Monday’s Dallas Morning News.

“This is great news for Dallas ISD students involved with EIF,” said David Biegler, EIF’s Chairman of the Board.  “For many urban youth, going away to college isn’t a viable option because scholarships typically cover tuition and fees only, but not room, board and living expenses.  For Dallas ISD students to be able to live at home and still get a terrific education at our city’s only public four-year institution will be truly impactful.”

Education is Freedom is a nonprofit organization designed to eliminate the barriers to higher education and promote equality of opportunity in college attendance. The program prepares middle and high school students for college by requiring that they maintain a strong grade point average, participate in Advanced Placement courses, minimize absences and participate in other preparatory activities. In return, students receive guidance, mentoring and assistance finding scholarships and financial support for their college careers.

Currently, Dallas ISD offers EIF Program services at three high schools — W.H. Adamson, North Dallas and James Madison High Schools – with plans to expand to an additional five Dallas ISD schools in the next several years.  Recognizing that the earlier the “college seed” is planted in the minds of students the more likely they are to stay in school, graduate and go on to college, EIF has launched its drop-out prevention/college-readiness programs in five Dallas ISD middle schools — Billy E. Dade, Thomas A. Edison, Thomas J. Rusk, Alex W. Spence and Hector P. Garcia Middle Schools.

“Education is Freedom and the University of North Texas Dallas Campus share a common goal — that of educating the young people of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and the larger North Texas region,” said Vice Chancellor John Ellis Price, president designate of the future university. “Now, as we partner together to help raise scholarship funds toward this effort, we will share a common task. This partnership will help us develop a culture of education in Dallas and a belief in the transformative power of education, and this investment now will pay substantial dividends in the future as we seek to raise the high school graduation and college-going rates in our area.

“This partnership is critically important because it removes many of the barriers that keep kids from attending college,” said State Senator Royce West, an EIF Board Member.  “It’s a beneficial union for both groups — EIF students will have exposure and access to a four-year college program, and the UNT Dallas Campus will see an enrollment boost from quality young people who’ve spent years preparing to succeed in college.”

UNT Dallas Campus and EIF officials have committed to work together to raise the funding for the scholarship program.  For more information about the program or to make a donation, please contact Marti Howe, executive vice president of Education is Freedom, at 214.432.8355 or mhowe@educationisfreedom.org. For more information on the UNT Dallas Campus, and the future UNT Dallas, contact Joseph Breshears, J.D., executive director of development, at 972.780.3617 or joe.breshears@unt.edu.

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