Wayne State's first lady founds HIGH Program for students in need

Wayne State's first lady founds HIGH Program for students in need
Jacqueline Wilson with President M. Roy Wilson and "W," the Wayne State mascot.

Since joining the Wayne State University family just a few months ago, first lady Jacqueline Wilson has already demonstrated her abiding personal commitment to student success with the establishment of the HIGH (Helping Individuals Go Higher) Program to aid Wayne State students who are homeless or are dealing with other severe hardships.

“Homelessness is a problem I’ve been passionate about for a long time, and it’s a lot more widespread than we’d like to think,” Jacqueline said.  “Many people are just a paycheck away from being homeless.  I started the HIGH Program to help students in greatest need at Wayne State.  They’re working hard against the odds to improve their lives, and they deserve every chance at success.” 

The need for assistance for these students is broad.  Often, they are forced to choose between paying school bills and buying food and other necessities.  In addition to very limited resources, these students also face low expectations and lack family and community support.

But regardless of hardships, they are determined to graduate and contribute to the community.  The Wayne State HIGH Program is designed to support these tenacious students by helping them secure housing, transportation, food, school supplies, and any other essentials they need. Individuals can support the program by adopting a student into their home; sponsoring a student financially; donating supplies, funds, or time; and simply by raising awareness.

“The number one reason why anyone should support the HIGH Program is the opportunity to change lives,” Jacqueline said.  “These students are already on the right track.  They’ve set their sights high, and are working extremely hard towards a better life.  They just need extra help crossing the finish line.”

As a university of opportunity and excellence, Wayne State offers students of all backgrounds the chance to build a successful future. A large majority of Wayne State students rely on financial assistance to meet their educational expenses.

For this reason, the Presidential HIGH Scholarship was created as a part of the HIGH Program, and President Wilson and Jacqueline gave $10,000 to help establish the fund. The Presidential HIGH Scholarship will be awarded to students who are making good academic progress but may be unable to complete their degrees due to financial hardship.

“Student success is something that we all must hold as our responsibility,” said President Wilson. “A good university does everything it can to make sure that every single student who entrusts their education to us graduates.”

Faculty and staff are invited to bring donations for the HIGH Program to the Winter Carnival on December 18. For more information on donating at the event, please visit the Winter Carnival RSVP page or call 313-577-8923.

Posted December 17, 2013

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