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Free community college offer a game-changer for some

<p>Slam poet Abdoulaye Doumbouya performs at the College Decision Day in the Cody gym on May 14. The DIT senior will go to the US Army on July 18.</p>

Slam poet Abdoulaye Doumbouya performs at the College Decision Day in the Cody gym on May 14. The DIT senior will go to the US Army on July 18.

The entire Cody campus gathered in the gym on May 13 for Decision Day, a ceremony honoring seniors as they announced their plans for college.

Those plans changed from some seniors after March 22 when Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced the Detroit Promise, a program that gives Detroit graduates the opportunity to go to a local community college tuition-free.

Senior Alisha Wedlow is thinking about putting off her plans to go to Indiana Tech to take advantage of the offer.

“Going to college is really expensive, especially at a university, and the only way I would be able to actually pay is with scholarships,” Wedlow said.

Any student with any grade point average who lives in Detroit and spent junior and senior year at any high school located in the city are eligible for this program. They just have to fill out the Detroit Promise application at and the 2016-17 FAFSA form. The graduates can then go to one of five community colleges in metro Detroit: Henry Ford Community College, Wayne County Community College District, Schoolcraft College, Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College.

Some students look at community college just as a place for students who aren't smart enough for a university. But studies show that going straight to a university after high school could leave students struggling academically as well as stressing about how to pay for the rest of college.

Senior Gregory Scott thinks starting at community college will be the smarter choice for him because he can take his required classes for free and at an easier school.

“For me, it’s like when I get to a university I want to focus on my major,” Scott said.

Cody DIT history teacher Henrietta Freeman doesn’t regret finishing two years at Wayne County Community College before transferring to University of Detroit Mercy because she wanted to improve her math skills.

“It was hard when I started because I wasn’t disciplined, but there was so much help given,” said Freeman.

And she said the experience made transferring to a four-year school easier.

“By then, I knew the ropes, and I knew to get help right when I needed it,” Freeman said.


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