The ISU 4U Promise — which will fund its first students in the Fall of 2017 — is a partnership among the Iowa State University School of Education, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Iowa State University Financial Aid and Des Moines Public Schools, as well as neighborhood-based and community organizations that serve the youth and families of King Elementary and Moulton Extended Learning Center.
King and Moulton schools are based in historically underserved communities with substantial socio-economic challenges that interfere with access to post-secondary opportunities. One of the stated goals is to incentivize and provide enrollment stability for students.
“We want to be a resource for these schools and families and be responsive to their needs,” said program administrator Katherine Richardson Bruna. “We also want to learn from them and the knowledge they have to offer that can help us prepare more effective educational professionals. ISU 4U is not intended to be a prescription or an imposition; it’s a relationship.”
The long-term objective of the partnership is to maintain a college-going pathway for youth that prepares them for successful college admission and completion, by drawing on closely aligned support systems for in- and out-of-school education. As part of the ISU 4U Promise, students from these schools who gain entrance to ISU will be eligible for tuition awards to support their college education.
To qualify for an award, King and Moulton students must meet annual attendance requirements and behavior/disciplinary standards set by DMPS, set annual performance goals with teacher and maintain a portfolio appropriate to grade level and submit a letter of interest to Iowa State at the conclusion of fifth grade.
The annual cost at full implementation is expected to be about $2 million and the university expects to utilize both institutional and private funds to support the initiative.