GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan—So what’s a Genesee County education worth? Well, suffice it to say more than $30 million. Now that the caps have been tossed, tassels tied, and gowns donned for more than 4,000 graduating seniors countywide, many are being launched into their higher education with local and national financial support.
A Flintside survey of local public and private high schools tallied $30 million in scholarships awarded to local high school graduates. Make that at least — although it is the most thorough countywide estimate ever collected, some local high schools simply don’t track the information and even those that do can’t guarantee their lists are complete.
The Flint Promise is another example of a value that is difficult to pinpoint. It guarantees a no-cost college education to all graduates who live in the city of Flint and graduate from a Flint public, private or charter school. The scholarship is good for a four-year degree, but students can opt to go to Mott Community College ($4,000 annual tuition), the University of Michigan-Flint ($12,000 annual tuition) or Kettering University ($22,000 annual tuition) with their scholarship.
Then, there students like Keishaun Wade, a graduate of Southwestern Classical Academy Wade, who was awarded more than $700,000 in scholarships and ultimately decided to attend Cornell University with plans to major in urban and regional studies.
He’s still in shock over the news and growing accustomed to a bit of Internet fame. "I was with my friends and we were just talking about it and they were like, 'Have you ever Googled yourself before?'” he said.
When he did, he found an article from a blog called Because of Them We Can, an online platform that celebrates and promotes tremendous feats among African Americans. To date their article on Wade has racked up more than 19,000 Facebook share.
"And I saw that Cornell had (re)posted it," said Wade. From there he was able to follow and get in touch with others in his incoming freshman class. "They all commented on it. I was just like 'What?!'"
Wade is now preparing to leave for Ithaca, New York, for a pre-freshman summer program to provide a smoother academic transition. Wade is just one of many.
The $30 million in scholarships includes estimates of those awarded to graduates at Atherton High School, Bendle High School, Bentley High School, Carman-Ainsworth High School, Clio High School, Davison High School, Fenton High School, Flint International Academy, a portion of Grand Blanc High School, Hamady High School, Kearsley High School, Lake Fenton High School, LakeVille Memorial High School, Mt. Morris High School, Powers Catholic High School, Southwestern Classical Academy, and Swartz Creek High School as well as the Flint Promise.