Grand Canyon University initiative ties scholarships to mentoring


Grand Canyon University (GCU) is offering 100 scholarships to Phoenix inner-city high school students as part of its new Students Inspiring Students program that will link financial aid to mentoring.  

Grand Canyon University (GCU) is offering 100 scholarships to Phoenix inner-city high school students as part of its new Students Inspiring Students program that will link financial aid to mentoring.

The scholarships will go to students who have made use of support services at GCU's free after-school tutoring center, the Learning Lounge, since the center opened three years ago. In return for receiving full scholarships, the students will provide 100 hours of mentoring to high school students. GCU officials hope the program will not only provide better access to higher education but improve the overall quality of local high schools.

“We’ve seen the tremendous impact that a successful college student can have on a high school student with just a few extra hours of instruction per week,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “They’re getting one-on-one help and mentoring from students who have been in their shoes and know what they’re going through.”

The school hopes the program will be able to double the number of scholarships it offers in each of the next four years, but that will depend on how successful the program is in attracting funds. GCU has raised approximately $700,000 to support the new program, mostly through fundraisers, private contributions and matches from the university.

GCU officials are hoping they will be able to demonstrate the impact of the program as an attractive investment for local entrepreneurs and philanthropists that will have ripple effects on students and the education system at large.

“Public schools in this neighborhood are assets, they’re not liabilities,"  Mueller said . "And the kids in those schools are assets, not problems to be solved. By investing in them, the trajectory of the entire neighborhood will change. The good news is that this initiative requires no government help or intervention and no tax increase. It’s a way for business and philanthropic leaders to give back to their community and make a significant impact on education in Arizona.”

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