Stellenbosch partners with education foundation to foster success in students

Written on 09/20/2020
Jarryd Neves

Stellenbosch University and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation are teaming up to launch the Dell Young Leaders programme, an initiative that aims to assist low-income students in striving for success in their studies. The programme is aimed at Stellenbosch students that are from low-income backgrounds, providing support towards their university graduation. In a country where inequality often deters many brilliant students from reaching their full potential, a programme like this is a step in the right direction for deserving star students. – Jarryd Neves

Stellenbosch University media release:

By implementing the Dell Young Leaders programme, the university aims to improve university graduation rates and employment opportunities for an additional 1,000 low-income students.

Stellenbosch University, in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, is excited to announce the launch of the Dell Young Leaders programme, enabling Stellenbosch University students from low-income backgrounds to receive increased support towards university graduation.

This month, Stellenbosch University will open applications for qualifying first-year students and select 100 Dell Young Leaders for the inaugural class. Over five years, the programme seeks to benefit 1,000 Maties.

Dell Young Leaders come from low-income communities and are the first in their families to attend university, so earning a degree is an essential step towards prosperity. The Dell Young Leaders programme offers support to students in the areas most needed, helping them overcome their individual challenges so they can graduate from university and move onto a meaningful career.

To date, 97% of Dell Young Leaders have either graduated or are still actively pursuing their studies, and 98% of graduates are employed or are pursuing further study.

The Dell Young Leaders programme — which has been running for 10 years in South Africa — will select low-income students enrolled in professional degrees at Stellenbosch University for a top-up scholarship that will cover the gap in their full cost of attendance at university.

Students will also receive ongoing targeted and personalised advice and resources on campus from dedicated programme staff. This includes mentorship, academic support, wellness resources, leadership development, career coaching, and graduate job placement. The programme ultimately helps students with challenges they encounter on their journeys to graduation and into the world of work.

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“We are continuously inspired by the driven students in our programme, who overcome immense odds to make not only their life, but the lives of their families and communities, better,” said Helen Vaughan, Programme Manager of University Success in South Africa, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

“We are excited for the opportunity to collaborate with Stellenbosch University, assisting more students as they graduate, secure meaningful employment, and become leaders in their chosen professions.”

In the spirit of ensuring more students thrive, Stellenbosch University has committed to allocating increased scholarship funds of its own to grow the number of students who will benefit from this programme, thereby doubling up on student success.

“We are excited at the possibility of extending our scholarship offering for students from low-income backgrounds at our university through a comprehensive, multi-layered support programme in partnership with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s Dell Young Leaders programme,” says Prof Wim de Villiers, rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University.

“The Dell Young Leaders programme is a vehicle to help SU fulfil its core strategic objectives. At SU, we value our students and are committed to delivering a transformative student experience to each one of them.”

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The Dell Young Leaders programme will add to several of Stellenbosch University’s ongoing initiatives to drive student success. The addition is part of the university’s overall efforts to ensure that the university is accessible to qualifying students from all backgrounds, particularly to those facing barriers to success in university education. The university regards this as a journey — from the first contact with prospective students until they graduate and embrace the role of alumni.

Karen Bruns, senior director of development and alumni relations at Stellenbosch University noted the perfect fit of the partnership: “This partnership will surely improve outcomes for students who become Dell Young Leaders, and in the long-term benefit their families.

This resonates strongly with our intention as a university of having a positive social impact and of ensuring that our students feed into growing the economy of the country with appropriate skills, both from the curricula and alongside formal education.”