Lansing Promise Scholarship Provides Bright Futures for 175 New Scholars

The Lansing Promise program is changing the future for greater Lansing by assisting students in achieving a post-secondary education through the Lansing Promise Scholarship. Established in 2012, the Lansing Promise Scholarship is designed to build a college and career-ready culture through tuition assistance. The funding is available for high school graduates residing in the Lansing School District’s (LSD) geographic boundaries. Eligible scholars can receive an associate’s degree (60 credits) at Lansing Community College (LCC) or $5,000 toward classes at Michigan State University (MSU). In addition, the Lansing Promise has recently partnered with Olivet College; beginning this fall, Olivet will offer $56,000 over the course of four years to any eligible scholar who chooses to attend their institution.

The Lansing Promise has certainly made huge milestones since 2012. The fall 2016 semester will welcome 175 new Promise scholars, marking the largest class of Lansing Promise scholars to date, and raising the total acceptance population to 600 scholars.

“The Lansing Promise Scholarship is a game changer,” said Justin M. Sheehan, Executive Director of Lansing Promise. “It’s changing the conversation for our young people from “if” I go to post-secondary to “when” I go to post-secondary.”

According to a state report, the scholarship has contributed over $859,477 in scholarships to eligible students, and estimates over $500,000 will be awarded during the 2016-2017 school year, surpassing the $1 million mark in total scholarship dollars awarded. To Lansing Promise, they’re just warming up.

“Lansing Promise is thrilled to break the $1 million mark and we will continue to work with businesses and education communities to ensure that young individuals living and working within the Lansing School District boundaries will have access to post-secondary education,” said Sheehan.

Sheehan noted the vast benefits the scholarship provides, including an increase in skilled workforce, entrepreneurs, college students, graduation rates and eventually tax base.

“All of these benefits are important positive effects of a Promise Scholarship, and in time, we will see each of these [benefits] pan out,” said Sheehan. “It’s up to us as a community to make this possible.”

As the scholarship continues to prove that students can achieve post-secondary education debt free, more high school students are deciding to take advantage of this opportunity. Since the first scholarships were awarded in the fall of 2012, 458 Lansing Promise students have been accepted to LCC and 142 have been accepted to MSU.

“As a Lansing Promise Scholar, I was given the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree at LCC with no student loans or other school related debt,” said one recent scholar. “It has shown me that everyone is capable of achieving a quality education and how important it is to give back to this community.”

Funding plays a vital role in the continued success of the Lansing Promise Scholarship. There are currently 53 area businesses who are Promise Sponsors and a variety of events are held each year for donation opportunities. This past April, the organization held its Second Annual Lansing Promise Dinner with Earvin “Magic” Johnson. At the celebration, Johnson rocked out to Earth, Wind and Fire with 1,300 supporters in order to rally for the future of education. Described as a night to remember, over $1.1 million was raised in the process. Andre Smith, a Sexton High School graduate, was one scholar in attendance who told his story and why he chose Lansing Community College to study elementary education.

“The two years the scholarship has paid for has helped me financially, making it possible for me to aim for finishing my four-year degree,” said Smith. Several other scholarship recipients at the event also addressed the crowd and thanked them for their support.

In order to qualify for the Lansing Promise Scholarship, a student must reside in the boundaries of the LSD, and also attend, for four or more consecutive years, and graduate from a public or non-public school located within the boundaries of the LSD; or attend, for eight or more consecutive years, a public or non-public school located within the boundaries of the LSD and obtain a GED before age 20. To learn more about Lansing Promise or to donate, please visit lansingpromise.org.

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Amanda Denomme

Amanda Denomme

Amanda has been a freelance writer for the past 5 years, covering arts and entertainment in West Michigan and Lansing. Describing herself as a shoe & fashion enthusiast, Amanda loves attending Broadway shows, dancing, and keeping up with the latest reality T.V.

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