One America - I Have a Dream

Program: I Have a Dream, Washington D.C.
Contact(s): Chris White, Chairman: (202) 775-5800
Purpose: To assist at-risk youth to remain in school and eventually attend college

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Founded in 1991, the I Have a Dream Program is a tuition-guarantee program based on the belief that the cost of college tuition is the most severe barrier to educational attainment for disadvantaged youth. The program offers financial support as well as personal guidance to enrolled students.

Program Operations

I Have a Dream is dependent largely on individual sponsors. In all programs, groups of 60 students ("dreamers") are randomly selected from a pool of disadvantaged kids in the city. These sixth or seventh graders will be assigned sponsors who will guarantee them college tuition, provided they enroll at a post-secondary institution within two years of graduating high school. The program offers individual support services, such as tutoring, summer programs and field trips. I Have a Dream also provides a mentoring program avail/able to enrolled students, beginning in junior high and extending until graduation from high school.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

Results from the implementation of I Have a Dream in three junior high schools in the Washington D.C. area show that the program has successfully targeted and reached disadvantaged youths. All "dreamers" in the program were still in school, and felt they had a more positive attitude toward education. Schools being evaluated under this program also strove to maintain high academic standards, as well as assisted students when they were perceived to be falling behind.

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