Spelman College, Ford Motor Co. partner to help first-generation students

Spelman College and the Ford Motor Company Fund on Tuesday announced a partnership to help more of the college’s first-generation students complete school.

Ten rising juniors who are first-generation Spelman students will be paired with 50 first-generation, first-year students. The mentors will spend at least 10 hours per week with each of their assigned mentees.

The students will participate in Ford-sponsored summer internship opportunities and make monthly visits with local business leaders. 

Ford Fund provides each junior mentor with a $10,000 scholarship, as well as the opportunity to themselves be mentored by a Ford Motor Company professional.

The parternship was announced at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Midtown Atlanta.

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About 15 percent of Spelman’s students are first-generation students, a college spokesman said. Federal research shows about 33 percent of college students are the first in their immediate family to pursue a higher education. First-generation students, though, are at a greater risk of dropping out because they often lack the support and guidance once they arrive on campus, researchers say.

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