DETROIT – The Kresge Foundation awarded $350,000 to the Wayne State University to expand its Warrior Way Back (WWB) initiative, which supports returning WSU students who have stopped out due to financial or life challenges.
The award will enable WWB to expand its reach to 450 students by hiring two additional staff members to coordinate its queue of wraparound services, which will include mental health counseling, study skills support, technology support, disability services, academic advising, financial literacy training, tutoring, emergency housing services, food assistance and emergency loans.
“Thanks to the Kresge Foundation, Wayne State will continue to be a leader in student success through the Warrior Way Back program,” said President M. Roy Wilson. “With the comprehensive support this award provides, we will be able to help even more former Warriors realize their dreams of obtaining a college degree.”
“At a time when it is more important than ever to support college completion, the Warrior Way Back program stands out as one of the most innovative and pro-active student support programs in the country,” said Provost Mark L. Kornbluh. “The Kresge Foundation’s generous support is integral to making this program a continued success.”
Launched in 2018, the WWB program expands educational access to students by eliminating past-due debt (up to $1,500) and supporting students as they work to complete their degree. It has been an overwhelming success—since 2018, 260 students have been enrolled through Warrior Way Back. Of those, 41 completed the program and 52 have graduated from Wayne State. There are 87 students currently active in the program.
Since 2014, The Kresge Foundation has awarded more than $1.2 million to Wayne State’s undergraduate student success initiatives, aimed to increase retention and graduation rates for underserved and/or economically disadvantaged students.
“We are proud to support Wayne State’s efforts to assist students in pursuit of degree completion, said Bill Moses, Managing Director of The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. “Wayne State University is an educational pillar in Detroit, Kresge’s hometown, and we look forward to more positive outcomes of innovative programs like WWB.”
As part of the two-and-a-half-year grant, WSU will hire recruit, hire, and train two additional student support staff to the program: a WWB career coordinator who will provide career planning and coaching, and a WWB peer coach who will explicitly support the skill development and identity development beneficial to returning adult students. The hope is that through this expansion, WSU will see a greater willingness among former students to complete their degree and a change in the attitude toward college access.
About Wayne State University
Wayne State University’s mission is to create and advance knowledge, prepare a diverse student body to thrive, and positively impact local and global communities. Wayne State University is a nationally recognized urban research institution offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 26,000 students. It is a place of opportunity and excellence. Opportunity means that financial status has no bearing on students’ access to quality higher education at a major academic research institution. For more information, visit wayne.edu.
About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation is a private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development, nationally and in Detroit, Memphis and New Orleans. In collaboration with our partners, we help create pathways for people with low incomes to improve their life circumstances and join the economic mainstream. For more information, visit kresge.org.