DETROIT (WWJ) – Former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer has used his leftover campaign contributions to give back to his community.
The Community Foundation on Thursday announced that the Dennis W. Archer Scholarship Fund has given out more than $100,000 each year since 2001, now surpassing the $1 millon mark.
Recipients of the scholarship money are minority students who are attending either Western Michigan University or Wayne State University — Archer’s alma maters.
Archer, who served as mayor of Detroit from 1994 to 2001, said the idea for the fund was influenced by his own experience of pursuing a higher education while holding down a job.
“For young people who, I understand the need to work 10 or 20 hours a week in order to help yourself get the education that you’re after,” Archer said. “I decided that would be something that I would try to make a difference in.”
The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan administers the scholarship program.
Dr. M. Roy Wilson, newly elected president of Wayne State University, believes that students deserve all of the help that they can get.
“I’ve begun to think that this is the most effective use of money that we can do,” Wilson said. “In my six weeks here, I’ve really come to appreciate the difficulty that many students have, where just a few dollars makes a big, big difference. It can mean the difference of whether they stay in school, whether they don’t stay in school, whether they can get books or not, or live in student housing.”
The cost of attending and living on Wayne State’s campus is averaged at $22,582 per year with Western Michigan’s at $25,985 in 2012. According to CollegeData.com and The College Board, over 37 percent of students attending Wayne State are considered minority students and would be eligible for the scholarship, while 22 percent would be eligible at Western Michigan.
The number of graduates from Wayne State who found full-time employment within six months of graduation was at 75 percent in 2011, while Western Michigan reached just 52 percent.
Archer, a 1965 graduate of Western Michigan, hopes to see the scholarship funds eventually increase to $2 million.