Future of Wolverine Pathways depends on donors

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 - 8:23pm

A new University mentorship program designed for pre-college students may not continue long-term if donors do not fund the program.

Set to launch in January, Wolverine Pathways is a rigorous mentorship program for middle and high school students that, if completed successfully, will provide participants with free University tuition. In an interview with The Michigan Daily, University President Mark Schlissel said the program will initially be funded by reserves from the Office of the Provost. However, the University plans to reach out to private donors for continued funding. If donors and philanthropic groups fail to sufficiently finance the program, Wolverine Pathways will cease to exist, Schlissel said.

“In the long run, if we are unable to attract philanthropic support or support from foundations we won’t be able to keep doing this,” Schlissel said. “It’s too expensive.”

The administration announced the launch of Wolverine Pathways in October in an attempt to increase racial and socioeconomic diversity on campus. The program provides disadvantaged students from the Southfield and Ypsilanti school districts with the opportunity to earn full four-year tuition scholarships.

Sixty seventh graders and 60 high school sophomores will initially be chosen to participate in Wolverine Pathways, and it will grow every year until it includes students from grades seven through 12. The program involves tutoring and mentorship in math, English and science in eight-week sessions in the fall, winter and summer. Students who complete the program successfully and are admitted to the University will earn a full scholarship.

In addition to Wolverine Pathways, the University introduced a similar program — the HAIL Scholars program — last fall in an effort to recruit high-achieving, low-income students from urban, rural and suburban high schools across the state. The pilot program offers students assistance in the college application process, and gives admitted participants full four-year scholarships.