U Prep to pay for college

DETROIT - University Preparatory High School, a charter public school in Detroit, will pay nearly the full cost of the first year of college for any of its 124 seniors who are eligible, the Detroit Free Press reported.

In the past, the school has assisted its graduates financially, but now it will pay all costs for one year at any public Michigan university except for $2,500, which parents must agree to pay through a subsidized loan, according to the Free Press.

Students who choose a private or out-of-state school will receive a $5,000 scholarship, the Free Press reported. The school calls the program a reward for seniors who pledged four years ago to graduate from high school and college and then return to help Detroit rebuild.

Calling themselves Detroit's Great Hope, members of this year's graduating class already have mentored younger students and produced a video about the benefits of an education, according to the Free Press.

University Preparatory Academy is managed by the nonprofit organization New Urban Learning. Doug Ross, New Urban chairman, said that the scholarship program is privately funded. Eligible students must meet specific academic standards in school-based work, as well as write a senior thesis and successfully complete a college readiness lecture series and study skills training.

Detroit Free Press, "All off to college, and first year free!" Nov. 7, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "Another U Prep charter to open," May 22, 2009