August Partner of the Month

Dean's Future Scholars

Dean’s Future Scholars (DFS) is an academic outreach program that empowers low-income, first-generation college students to graduate from high school and achieve higher education. The first DFS cohort started with 50 sixth-grade students, but the program has grown to serve 1,640 students throughout Washoe County and the surrounding tribal communities. This grant-funded, homegrown program located at the University of Nevada, Reno will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year.

Unlike other college access programs, DFS students are recommended from Title 1 schools during their 6th grade year. A minimum six-year commitment is provided at no cost and every student is welcomed to the “DFS family” with open arms regardless of their background, academic performance, or family history. Annual mentoring and summer programming is provided through high school graduation, while college internships, scholarships, and employment opportunities are provided throughout undergraduate and graduate school. The DFS program has a dedicated student lounge located in the College of Education and Human Development where college students can access free food, printing, technology, and mentoring. The most unique aspect of DFS is that all program services are delivered through a near-peer mentoring model where 80-90% of the staff are DFS program alumni.

Over the past 10 years, DFS students have averaged a 95% high school graduation, which is 22 percentage points higher than their low-income counterparts in the school district. For those who enroll at the University of Nevada, Reno, the overall college enrollment rate is 71% with an 80% college retention rate. Thanks to the long-term support from the Nell J. Redfield Foundation, 248 bachelor’s degrees, 55 master’s degrees, and 2 doctorate degrees have been earned by DFS students attending the University of Nevada, Reno.  

Learn About Our Previous Partners of the Month