Monday, June 3, 2024

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

A six-year, $6.6 million commitment from the John Deere Foundation will establish the John Deere Scholars Program, a need-based pipeline program that will prepare Davenport Community High School students for a college education at Iowa.

“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,” says Barbara 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.”

The program will begin this fall with college preparatory courses for low- to middle-income seniors at Davenport Central, North, West, and Mid City high schools. UI will hire a local program director to collaborate with school counselors to teach the courses, provide training to enhance leadership skills, and help students through the financial aid and admissions process.

Then, beginning in spring 2025, the program will award 20 scholarships per year for three years (60 in total), covering 90% of the total cost to attend Iowa. The remaining 10% will be covered by additional funding sources, such as work-study. The first cohort of students will enroll at Iowa in fall 2025.

Any student taking part in college preparatory courses through the program will be eligible to apply for a scholarship.

“This partnership will provide a tremendous opportunity for our students,” says 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.

“We believe education is the foundation for success,” says Mara Downing, president of the John Deere Foundation and vice president of global brand and communications at John Deere. “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.”