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John Deere Helps Increase Access to Higher Ed

Wed June 05, 2024 - Midwest Edition #13
John Deere

A groundbreaking partnership between the John Deere Foundation, the University of Iowa (UI) and the Davenport Community School District (DCSD) will soon increase access to higher education for Iowa high school students.

The John Deere Foundation will give $6.6 million over six years to create the John Deere Scholars Program, a program based on financial need that will help Davenport Community High School students get ready for college at Iowa.

"We believe education is the foundation for success," said Mara Downing, president of the John Deere Foundation. "By investing in our community, John Deere is also investing in opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow. We are excited to begin the John Deere Scholars Program and watch these future leaders achieve their dreams."

The program will start this fall with college readiness courses for seniors from low- to middle-income families at Davenport Central, North, West and Mid City high schools. UI will appoint a local program director to work with school counselors to teach the courses, provide training to improve leadership skills, and assist students with the financial aid and admissions process.

Then, starting in spring 2025, the program will give 20 scholarships per year for three years (60 in total), paying 90 percent of the total cost to attend Iowa. The remaining 10 percent will be paid by other funding sources, such as work-study. The first 20 scholarships will be given in spring 2025 for students who will start at Iowa that fall. Any student participating in college readiness courses through the program will be able to apply for a scholarship.

"John Deere is leading by example, showcasing how a large company can partner with a university and a public school district to address workforce needs," said Barbara J. Wilson, president of the University of Iowa. "This is a game-changer not only for the students who will receive the education and leadership experiences they need to succeed in a global society, but also for how we develop pipeline programs in the future."

"This partnership will provide a tremendous opportunity for our students," said TJ Schneckloth, superintendent of the Davenport Community School District. "Our district is committed to preparing our students for their post-secondary education. The John Deere Scholars Program offers a generation changing opportunity for our students to receive the college education they might never have thought was possible."

In addition to receiving academic, financial, and social support, scholarship recipients also will take part in specialized leadership training. This includes mentorship programs, field experience, and networking in the student's field of study.

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