Since its founding in 2014 as a first of its kind public-private partnership, Delaware College Scholars (DCS) has grown to support hundreds of high-achieving public school students from low-income families as Delaware’s only tuition-free residential college preparatory and persistence program.
“Unlike other educational programs, DCS is a 7-year program with a 3-year residential component,” said Dr. Tony Alleyne, Executive Director and Founder of DCS. “Beginning the summer after 10th grade, accepted scholars receive both summer intensive and year-round support in the form of college-style classes via roundtable Socratic seminars, academic sessions focused on English and math mastery, college visits, a dynamic student cohort model, one-on-one college advisement, and college workshops focused on topics like SAT prep and financial aid. Without DCS these scholars would have no such preparation for college.”
With support from companies like WSFS Bank, DCS has been able to rapidly expand over the course of seven years to serve more than 400 students as of 2021, and projects to assist more than 800 students by the summer of 2023.
“Since 2018, WSFS has directly supported DCS and enabled us to expand our cohort size from around 40 new scholars per year to where we are today with over 100 new scholars annually,” said Dr. Alleyne. “We are aiming to accept our largest group of scholars for summer 2022 – over 120. WSFS’ support helps us provide transportation and technology for all our accepted scholars as well as increase our staffing for the growing number of participants and increase our workshops during the school year.”
“The impact DCS is having on these students and the community as a whole is truly remarkable,” said Vernita Dorsey, Senior Vice President, Director of Community Strategy at WSFS. “We commend DCS on its success in helping these deserving students, including having 100% of its scholars graduate from high school on time and 98% successfully transition to college.”
DCS provides its scholars with a robust curriculum and support system throughout the life of the program, including regular and on-campus check-ins with DCS college persistence staff for scholars who have reached college age. The one-on-one relationship between scholars and the persistence staff through college graduation is just one of the many programs and resources DCS provides to help nurture students and set them on a path toward success.
In addition to the programs provided to college students, DCS also offers a variety of programs such as its summer residential program to help prepare high school scholars for life in college.
“Our summer residential program is the heart and soul of what we do,” said Dr. Alleyne. “There is no other public-private partnership that offers such a robust residential experience. Our scholars truly get to experience what it is like to live on a college campus. We were able to return to in-person sessions during the summer of 2021 at Delaware State University and will return to their campus for summer 2022.”
“WSFS is proud to support the great work DCS is doing to assist students in Delaware, and we look forward to continuing to partner with the organization to prepare these first generation college students for success throughout their lives,” said Dorsey.
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