The Dorrance Foundation for Education, based in Tempe, helps first-generation college students chart a path to success through the Dorrance Scholarship Programs. Through the foundation, a total of 36 graduates from 31 high schools across Arizona will have the opportunity to attend Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. This year, 22 Dorrance Scholars graduated from one of these three schools.
The Dorrance Merit Scholarships was established by Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance at the Arizona Community Foundation in 1999 with 10 awards. What is now the Dorrance Scholarship Programs at the Dorrance Foundation for Education has awarded more than 500 scholarships, representing an investment of more than $40 million by the Dorrances.
“From the program’s inception, we have wanted to focus on good students who strove to be the first in their families to go to college; students in whom we saw great potential to grow; students we thought could benefit greatly from exposure to a program, one-on-one mentoring, and the rewarding gift of camaraderie and character building with peers,” Jacquie Dorrance says.
The programs are available annually to up to 36 high school graduates who meet precise eligibility requirements that include first generation to attend college, demonstrated financial need, meeting minimum GPA and test scores, admission to ASU, NAU or UA, and proven leadership and volunteer service. The scholarship offers $12,000 per year for a total of eight semesters of full-time undergraduate study and is maintained based on academic standing, program participation and volunteerism. The total educational and programmatic value of each scholarship is estimated at more than $100,000.
The comprehensive nature of the program goes beyond simply funding a college education. Through small, on-campus cohorts of students, their peers, faculty and Dorrance Program staff, the foundation offers benefits that include cultural enrichment, community outreach, tutoring and mentoring, internship opportunities, and international study and travel. Dorrance deems such experiences as essential to competitive post-graduate study and employment, and effective community connection and personal development.
Ninety-eight percent of students who complete the Dorrance program graduate, compared with 11 percent of first-generation, low-income students nationally. Four of five students complete the program.
PHOTOS COURTESY THE DORRANCE FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATION