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Dell Scholars Program Supports College Persistence

The Dell Scholars program provides students with the support they need to earn a college degree.

Organization Info

Dell Scholars Program



Foundation Lead

Todd Penner

Each year, 500 new students are selected to become Dell Scholars. These students are bright, ambitious, and hardworking, determined to take advantage of the opportunity that a college degree represents.  


Years of Scholar Success

7 K

Scholars Supported

4 K

Dell Scholars Alumni

The Dell Scholars program provides a support system throughout the college journey to help students stay on track through graduation. Dell Scholars are awarded a $20,000 scholarship along with non-monetary supports to help them overcome academic challenges, increase financial literacy, and navigate the personal circumstances that impact their college experience.

Eighty percent of Dell Scholars graduate with a bachelor’s degree within six years, compared to the national average of 54% among their peers. A proven model for supporting the college success of Pell-eligible students, the Dell Scholars program served as the inspiration for UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars, a partnership between the University of Texas at Austin and the foundation which seeks to close the gap in college graduation rates across income levels.

Since the program was founded in 2004, it has supported more than 7,000 students nationwide. With the right support at the right time, more students are able to persist through college and achieve their higher education goals.

Dive Deeper

Dell Scholars Roundtable

Michael and Susan Dell sat down with three Dell Scholars – Kingsley, Rahim, and Reina – to hear firsthand how the Dell Scholars program helped support them to college graduation.

Supporting the Whole Student

The Dell Scholars support model is designed to provide robust support for the full college experience, in a way that’s individualized to each student – from academic and financial factors to social-emotional support and resources to navigate life outside the classroom.

  • Essential Technology: When they are accepted into the program, students receive a laptop with four-year warranty and textbook credits to set them up for academic success.
  • Academic and Personal Support: Dell Scholars receive one-on-one coaching from program advisors along with resources like the Scholar Resource Network, which offers students and their families free access to financial and legal support, among other services, similar to an employee assistance program (EAP). Scholars also have free access to a teletherapy service where they can access support over chat, phone, or video.
  • Flexible Funds: The program’s flexible scholarship funds can be tailored to each student’s needs, from tuition and fees to study abroad, unpaid internship stipends, or even paying back the cost of student loans. Targeted deployment of emergency funds can make all the difference for Dell Scholars when the unexpected happens.
  • College Choice and Financial Aid Coaching: From day one, advisors work with newly selected scholars to help them make the best college decision based on cost and their individual needs. Throughout college, the program’s financial aid coaching helps students understand award letters, avoid financial aid displacement when requesting scholarship funds, navigate changes to their financial circumstances, and stay on top of processes like the FAFSA and financial aid verification.
Dell Scholar Kevin Lopez speaks at UT about his experience with the program.

Meet Kevin

Kevin didn’t always see college as the path he would take. But with the support of his family and encouragement from teachers and advisors, he set his sights on college graduation – and the Dell Scholars program helped him navigate unfamiliar territory along the way. Learn more about how his journey led him to a career in the tech industry.

Kevin shares his story here.

A Data-Informed Approach 

With more than 2,000 active students across the country, it’s crucial for Dell Scholars advisors to understand which scholars are facing urgent needs and where they need to prioritize. Starting with onboarding, Dell Scholars complete annual surveys and end-of-term check-ins, ensuring that program advisors understand the full picture. Advisors can zoom out to identify macro issues and develop targeted campaigns for specific student populations, or zoom in to see where an individual student is struggling.  

With the right data in place, advisors are equipped to provide the kind of individualized support that sets this model apart. 

More Than Dollars for Scholars

Learn how the Dell Scholars program model supports students’ degree attainment at higher rates than the national averages in this paper from Lindsay Page of the University of Pittsburgh.

Read the University of Pittsburgh Study
White Icon with a Graduation Cap.