President Barack Obama proposed a federal program called America’s College Promise back in January 2015. Hoping to increase the number of students who graduate from college, the promise would make the first two years at community colleges free for eligible students seeking transfers, associate degrees, job training or certifications.
Inspired by America’s College Promise and based on the poverty and educational levels, the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Foundation created the Rising Star Program as its own promise to students.
According to the Rising Star website, the foundation believes “everyone should have a chance to realize the American dream and a college education through each of the colleges of DCCCD.”
The Rising Star program is “a way to provide incentives and encouragement for students to stay in high school and graduate in order to receive a scholarship to come to one of our DCCCD colleges,” said Pyeper Wilkins, Ed.D., DCCCD Foundation executive director.
Since 1999, more than 15,000 students have joined Rising Star. The program provides financially needy students graduating from a Dallas County public high school with academic support services and up to $5,500 for tuition, fees and books, according
To become a Rising Star candidate, a student must graduate from an eligible Dallas County public high school, one of the Dallas Can Academies or an approved charter high school and prove financial need. He/she must either graduate in the top 40 percent of their class, graduate with a B average (80 percent or better on a 100-point scale), or pass the required assessment test to enter any of the seven DCCCD colleges.
The Rising Star also has transfer scholarships available for those interested in pursuing higher academic goals at a four-year university. The program partners with local universities to give DCCCD students the opportunity to compete for funding without competing against an entire incoming college class. Transfer scholarships are only available to applicants who initially come through the Rising Star program.
To apply for a Rising Star scholarship, students should complete an admission application, an online Rising Star application and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Admission applications can be completed online, by mail or fax, or in person. A current official high school transcript is also required.
Rising Star applications should be completed in the senior year of high school. Applications for the Rising Star class of 2017 are being accepted now through July 1, 2017.
For more information, visit the Rising Star office at Richland in Crockett Hall, Room 150A or visit: www.dcccd.edu/PC/ScholOther/Scholarships/RisingStar/Pages/default.aspx