The Rising Star Program was created by the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) and its Foundation to provide incentives and encouragement for students to stay in high school and graduate. With a dropout rate of 40% for Dallas County and an even higher 60% rate in Dallas ISD, the need for the Rising Star program is critical to the future of employers, employees and communities in the area.
The two- year pilot program was launched in 1999 with 27 high schools in the southern sector of Dallas County. DCCCD and its Foundation believed that financial need should not be a barrier to higher education and the county area high school drop out rate was astonishing (the second worse in the nation). It was believed that for many young people, lack of financial resources was a reason for dropping out of school and/or not pursuing a college education and training. Therefore, the Rising Star program was developed to target a group of these high school students and offer them the opportunity to access a FREE college education.
Rising Star became available countywide beginning in August 2001. Once serving 27 high schools, now serving 55 public high schools within Dallas County.
Rising Star is open to every Dallas County public high school senior who graduates with a “B” average or is in the top 40% of their class and shows an economic need. The economic need is based on the number of family members along with income.
|# of People in House hold||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8|
|Annual Family Income Cannot Exceed||$12,500||$34,800||$39,150||$43,500||$47,000||$50,500||$53,950||$57,540|
*Note: Students do not have to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents to participate in the program.
Students must complete DCCCD admissions application, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit an official high school transcript to the Rising Star campus liaisons of their choice.
Potential Rising Star students may obtain a Rising Star application online through eConnect once they have been admitted to the DCCCD campus of their choice.
Students have a one time opportunity to apply and must submit ALL required documents by June 15th after their high school graduation.
$4,000 (sufficient to cover costs to obtain an associate’s degree or occupational certification at any of the DCCCD campuses). This amount covers tuition, fees and books up to $700 a semester. Recipients do not receive a cash award. Instead, an account is set up for each student for use only within the DCCCD.
No. Rising Star students may use the scholarship only within DCCCD. Recipients may attend any of DCCCD’s campuses which includes Brook haven College, Cedar Valley College, Eastfield College, Mountain View College, North Lake College , Richland College and the Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development.
Once accepted into the Rising Star program, a recipient has three (3) years from the date of initial enrollment to use the funds. The extended time will assist students who can not attend college full-time to complete a two-year degree.
Rising Star students have a choice concerning their educational program. They can enroll in an associate’s degree program, choose to pursue any one of more than 120 occupational training, professional certification programs, university transfer courses and non-credit workforce education programs reimbursed by the State.
During the pilot phase, more than 1,200 students enrolled in the program. Between Fall 1999 and Fall 2000, 60% of Rising Star students continued their education, reflecting a retention rate that is 20% higher than the state average for community colleges. During the Spring of 2001, Rising Star witnessed its first group of graduates district wide.
Currently, females comprise 70% of the program’s enrollment. There is an ethnic mix of students as 46% are Hispanic, 41% African-American, 10%Anglo, 2% Asian and 1% “other” district wide. The three most popular areas of study are health & medicine (24%), business (25%) and computers (15%). The majority of students attend to get “core” courses for university transfer.
Rising Star is a privately funded program. With initial million dollar gifts each from Texas Instruments, Mike and Linda Mewhinney (individual donors) and the Ellison Miles Foundation, the program was launched. The campaign goal is to raise $30 million to subsidize the program and the fund-raising efforts have been supported enthusiastically by businesses such as Texas Instruments, Ebby Halliday, Bank of America and Chase Bank, individuals such as Dallas’ previous mayor Ron Kirk, Mort Meyerson and a host of others along with organizations throughout the community. For information regarding funding, contact Betheny Reid, Executive Director of the DCCCD Foundation at (214) 860-2053 or visit the Foundation’s web site at www.foundation.dcccd.edu.
The Rising Star program has received national attention because of its uniqueness to serve the community at such a large scale. Among the national groups to have high marks to Rising Star include the American Association of Higher Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, Cornell University’s Institute for Community Colleges and the League for Innovation National “Abstracts” Series.
Rising Star offers students the opportunity to further their education beyond high school. It assists students with tuition and books and allows them to concentrate more fully on college rather than worrying about a means to pay for college. The program offers students opportunities to have individualized and personal advisement through each campuses Rising Star Office and many opportunities to participate in organizations designed specifically for them such as the Rising Star Club and the Rising Star Ambassador program.
Rising Star is committed to helping high school students make the transition from high school to college by requiring them to enroll in a HDEV course during their first year. This course equips students to perform better in college by providing helpful and useful information on study habits, test taking skills, career planning and placement and self-exploration. The individualized attention Rising Star students receive has proven to be successful in that Rising Star students are three (3) times more likely to return to college semester to semester.
No. Rising Star students may enroll in as little as one (1) credit hour provided they are not required to take remedial/developmental courses.
The Rising Star program at Eastfield has grown from just over 100+ students in Fall 1999, to over 350+ students in Fall 2001 and the numbers continue to grow as more and more high school students are applying for Rising Star. The majority of Rising Star students at Eastfield attended Skyline HS, W.W. Samuell HS, H. G. Spruce HS and Seagoville with a large number of new Rising Star students coming from Mesquite I.S.D. with the countywide expansion of the program.
Out of the 350+ Rising Star students at Eastfield, 80% are female and 20% male. A large number of these students are first generation college students along with many being first generation high school graduates. Rising Star students are active within Eastfield College. Students are involved in the student newspaper, student commissioner program, Who’s Who Among American Junior Colleges, dance team members, baseball team, volleyball team, Rising Star Club and the newly formed LULAC club.
Besides being actively involved at Eastfield, many of the Rising Star students perform various community service duties and volunteer efforts that include the Balch Springs Nursing Home, Bryan’s House, Habitat for Humanity, Celebration of Hope, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and the newly formed mentoring program “New Beginnings” created by the Dallas I.S.D.
Rising Star students are encouraged to pursue a degree beyond the associate level. As a result, some universities have implemented Rising Star scholarships based on a student being in the DCCCD Rising Star program. The colleges to date that have implemented this are Texas A & M Commerce, University of Texas @ Arlington and several area universities looking to do the same. Eastfield Rising Star students represent a number of different universities such as University of Texas @ Austin, University of Texas @ Arlington, Morehouse College, Xavier University, Loyola University, University of Texas @ San Antonio and Texas A & M Commerce to name a few. These full-time university students often attend Eastfield in the summer and minimesters.
University, Loyola University, University of Texas @ San Antonio and Texas A & M Commerce to name a few. These full-time university students often attend Eastfield in the summer and minimesters.