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Expanding the Dell Young Leaders program to Stellenbosch University

Helen Vaughan

In South Africa, just one in 200 young people who start primary school go on to graduate with a university degree. A shocking statistic that we work day in and day out to improve by helping more students graduate. And so it’s with great excitement that I share the news of our partnership with Stellenbosch University to nearly double the number of Dell Young Leaders who we will support throughout their time at university.

More Students With the Opportunity to Succeed

The below sentiments are from two of our current Dell Young Leaders, but they are words I have heard over and over again from countless others.

  • “After losing a loved one during the examination period, I thought I was going to fail. Emotionally I was a mess. I thought it was the end of my degree.”
  • “I have always wanted to be a lawyer. But I was always told that it is almost impossible for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete their LLB degree.”

When we select Dell Young Leaders, we immediately see young people with tremendous ambition and resilience who have made it to university despite the challenges they faced growing up in disadvantaged households. Our students overcome so much to get this far, so it is vitally important that we help them make it all the way to university graduation and on to a meaningful career. Even with efforts from universities, students from low-income backgrounds are at greater risk of not graduating from university, which then affects their ability to build a prosperous future and help their families and communities.

Over the last 10 years, the Dell Young Leaders program has successfully supported high-potential university students from some of the most disadvantaged communities in South Africa to graduate and launch professional careers. It is widely known that it takes financial assistance to help students — especially students from low-income communities — graduate from university. But it also takes personalised support and resources. Dell Young Leaders receive ongoing tailored advice and resources from dedicated program staff on campus. This includes mentorship, academic support, wellness resources, leadership development, career coaching, and graduate job placement. The program helps students with challenges they encounter while at university and the world of work.

Details on the Expansion

Over the next five years, the program at Stellenbosch University will enable 1,000 low-income students receiving financial aid to also get a scholarship to meet their full cost of attendance. They will also receive academic, wellness, and career support to help them stay the course. We will invite students studying professional and in-demand degrees to apply in their first year of study and will select participants for their ability to overcome adversity and show leadership potential. We are excited to extend the Dell Young Leaders family to students at Stellenbosch University as we open applications on Sept. 21 and announce our inaugural class on Nov. 6.

A Brighter Future

We are optimistic, excited, and overjoyed to have the opportunity to reach more students. A big thank you to Stellenbosch University for investing time and resources in our collective students, and for taking on the challenge of helping more young South Africans realise their potential, regardless of their economic status. Together, we are committing to South Africa’s future leaders — people who will inevitably change the world.

Learn More

The Dell Young Leaders program helps students navigate through common barriers to graduation, offering support in the areas most needed to ensure they move on to a meaningful career.

Visit the Website
Dell Young Leaders Brandmark