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The Promise Doesn't Want The Pandemic To Keep Students Away From Higher Ed

A picture from below of the Kalamazoo Promise logo on a pale blue water tower tank
Sehvilla Mann

The Kalamazoo Promise scholarship has a new challenge during the COVID-19 shutdown: helping students to stay on a path to college. Executive Director Bob Jorth says the organization is still figuring out how to help.

Jorth says there are several ways the pandemic could make the road to a degree or certificate rockier. For one thing, distance learning is difficult in homes that don’t have internet, and even in some that do.

“In families that maybe only have one device to share among multiple family members, that’s really turning out to be a significant challenge,” he said.

And the shutdown has other effects.

“Even the most capable students can be overwhelmed with the social-emotional piece of trying to deal with this isolation, the quarantine, maybe the economic insecurity of their family,” he said.

“We’re still trying to figure out how it’s going to play out particularly this fall, and I don’t think we have an answer on that yet,” he added. “But we’re trying to understand what we might be able to do to ease burdens and keep as many people going as possible.”

He says the scholarship’s own finances are not in danger because of the shutdown.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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