Dean's Future Scholars Summer Program
Now in its 20th year, the Dean’s Future Scholars (DFS) program at the University of Nevada, Reno has improved the lives and educational outcomes for 1,357 low-income, first generation college students in the Reno/Sparks community. DFS is funded by grants, private donations, and in-kind contributions and all program services are provided at no cost to program participants. DFS needs your help to raise $15,000 to cover the remaining expenses for the DFS Youth College Internship summer program. Anything raised above that goal will be divided equally among eligible Youth College Internship summer participants to help pay for tuition and books during their first year of college at the University of Nevada, Reno.
This homegrown college access program provides near-peer mentoring during the academic school year and free summer programming opportunities to program participants each year for six years. During the 2018-2019 academic school year DFS mentored 414 students in 22 different schools and had a total of 308 summer program participants in grades six through college.
Once students matriculate to the University, they have 24/7 access to the DFS lounge located in the College of Education where they continue to receive mentoring, employment opportunities, financial aid support, and access to free food and printing. This home away from home on the University campus has contributed to the 87% college retention rate for those attending the University of Nevada, Reno.
DFS’s unique program model comprehensively addresses the needs of students at each developmental level and longitudinal data illustrate positive results.
Since 2014, DFS program participants have averaged high school graduation rates of 96%, while their low-income counterparts in the school district have averaged a graduation rate of 71%.
Of the 890 total DFS program alumni, 70% attended college immediately following high school. The majority of the program participants have stayed in the local Reno/Sparks area with 58% enrolling at the University of Nevada, Reno and 31% enrolling at Truckee Meadows Community College.
The last milestone before DFS program participants enter college is the DFS Youth College Internship program, which is an eight-week summer bridge program where students gain first-hand experience successfully balancing college classes and part-time employment. The total per student cost for this transformative experience is $3,300 and includes:
- Tuition and fees (6 credits)
- Paid internship (100 hours wages and fringe)
- Overnight leadership training at Grizzly Creek Ranch (transportation, food, and lodging)
- Summer parking or bus pass, books, and school supplies
“Since the start, DFS helped guide me to college. Back in 6th grade, as a low-income, first generation student, college wasn't even a thought for me. College was unknown and DFS revealed it to me. DFS really helped with mentoring throughout the years. In middle school, we engaged in activities throughout the campus and that helped me understand more about how college works. Then in high school, the classes that were offered during the summer gave me a leg up. When I started the dual credit classes, it gave me experience with college level courses. Then the EDU 111 class prepared me with a lot of useful information about college. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for DFS.” –student quote from 2019 exit survey