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UD’s (Flyer) promise to support students

Elena Ramos was ready to drop out her freshman year.

“I remember it vividly,” said Ramos, who now works full-time and has her pick of top graduate schools — Harvard, Boston University, NYU and others.

Ramos had failed a course, and told her Flyer Promise Scholars program success partner she wanted to leave UD.

“My advisor Beverly Jenkins sat me down with Donnell Wiggins, UD’s dean of admissions. It was just a turning point. I realized: This person will never give up on me. Flyer Promise was the backbone of me becoming who I am today,” she said.

Flyer Promise is designed for students like Ramos, who often don’t consider enrolling, or even applying, to a top-tier university like UD. It offers them financial assistance, mentorship and leadership opportunities. It’s a signature program, alongside the UD Sinclair Academy for students who begin their academic careers at Sinclair College and the new Kessler Scholars program for students who are the first in their families to pursue a degree, in the University’s efforts to better support students who qualify for the federal Pell Grant. 

The programs have helped UD set a record for enrollment of Pell-eligible students in fall 2023 and earn national recognition as a High-Flier for leadership and progress in recruiting and graduating students from lower-income backgrounds. 

Most importantly, the programs have changed the lives of students like Ramos; and Morgan Cox, who was a part of UD’s summer Appalachian program and just earned her higher education graduate degree from the University of Michigan; Chase Hoffman, a Flyer Promise graduate finishing the physician assistant program from UD; and many others.

Flyer Promise has enrolled about 250 students; 88% have finished their degrees in four years compared to 47% of all students nationally. UD Sinclair Academy has grown exponentially, and 45 more students will earn their associate degrees this spring and begin classes at UD in the fall. And the Kessler Scholars program will double in size to 40 students with its second incoming class for the 2024-25 school year.

“We have momentum, thanks to these students, these programs, and the donors who support our work,” said President Eric F. Spina. “UD was among the schools nationwide in the American Talent Initiative to make progress every year in reaching our goal of welcoming, supporting, and graduating Pell-eligible students. It’s amazing to see what they do when they’re here, as club founders, research assistants, peer mentors and more. And it’s even more amazing to see what they accomplish when they graduate. These programs are about the students, and to see the students soar fulfills our dreams and our mission.”

For Ramos, as a UD alumnae, she can look back and laugh at the moment she wanted to drop out.

“I’ve overcome so much since then,” she said, also giving credit to the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center and staff in UD’s president’s office for their support.

She has taught English in Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar; started her career as an academic program administrator at Boston University; and chose BU to pursue a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy: K-12 this upcoming fall.

“It’s not unbelievable, because I know I’m capable. But wow, 18-year-old me would have never thought of this,” she said. “I am grateful to UD and the Flyer Promise team for giving me this chance and letting me live out my dream.”


News and Communications Staff