U-I president Bruce Harreld speaks at Des Moines East High School.

U-I president Bruce Harreld speaks at Des Moines East High School.

The University of Iowa has created a program that partners with the Raise.me scholarship platform the school’s president says will encourage and improve college readiness among Iowa high school students in all 99 counties.

U-I president Bruce Harreld made the announcement at Des Moines East High School Wednesday.

“The program provides microscholarships to students grade in through 12 for academic and extracurricular achievements throughout their high school career,” Harreld explains.

Des Moines East is the school chosen for Polk County. Each school was chosen based on the number of free and reduced priced lunch participants they have in the district.

Students can then use the scholarship money raised to attend the University of Iowa. Harreld says the students start by going on-line to register.

“As they enter their achievements into the portfolio, they can watch the scholarship earnings start to stack up. Students can earn microscholarships for taking advanced math and science courses, participating in extracurricular activities and doing community service,” according to Harreld.

He gave examples of how the students might build their scholarship. “Students can a hundred dollars for every four years of taking the same foreign language,” Harreld says, “or 75 dollars for each year of perfect attendance. The maximum scholarship award for each student who participates is $1,200.” Any student in the designated districts can sign up to participate in the program.

Harreld says the goal is to get the students to take tougher courses and get involved early in the process of planning for higher education. “It is our hope that these microscholarships make a difference in student behavior, and that after an evaluation period with feedback from schools and counselors, that we will be able to expand this program throughout the entire state,” Harreld says. “There are about 100 colleges on the Raise.Me platform, so students can also choose to follow other participating colleges , and also earn microscholarships for those institutions.”

Des Moines Area Community College is also working with the University of Iowa, and Harreld says students can attend any community college and then use their microscholarships at the U-I.

Des Moines Superintendent Thomas Ahart.

Des Moines Superintendent Thomas Ahart.

Des Moines Schools Superintendent Thomas Ahart says it is important for students to prepare for college.

“National estimates suggest that 70 percent of new jobs in our country will require at least some post-high school training — 2-year or 4-year degree. In Iowa, only 42 percent of our workforce has those credentials,” Ahart says.

He says the microscholarships are key in allowing many students to go to college.

Ahart says the affordability of college is an important issue for students if they want to continue their education. “This new program with the University of Iowa will remove what is for some, is a barrier that prevents advancement in education and making students ready for opportunities that they otherwise would be qualified for,” according to Ahart. For more information about the micro-scholarships or Raise.me, go to: admissions.uiowa.edu/all99 or to www.raise.me.

Here are the school districts for each of the 99 counties:

Orient-Macksburg, Corning, Postville, Moulton-Udell, Audubon, Vinton-Shellsburg, Waterloo, Boone, Tripoli, Independence, Storm Lake, North Butler, South Central Calhoun, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Atlantic, North Cedar, Mason City, Aurelia, New Hampton, Clarke, Spencer, MFL MarMac, Clinton, Denison, Perry, Davis County, Central Decatur, Edgewood-Colesburg, Burlington, Okoboji, Dubuque, Estherville Lincoln, Oelwein, Charles City, CAL, Hamburg, Paton-Churdan, BCLUW, West Central Valley, Webster City, West Hancock, Eldora-New Providence, Boyer Valley, Winfield-Mt Union, Howard-Winneshiek, Twin Rivers, Battle Creek-Ida Grove, English Valleys, Maquoketa, Newton, Fairfield, Lone Tree, Olin Consolidated, Tri-County, LuVerne, Keokuk, Cedar Rapids, Columbus, Chariton, George-Little Rock, Interstate 35, Oskaloosa, Twin Cedars, Marshalltown, East Mills, Osage, Whiting, Albia, Red Oak, West Liberty, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, Sibley-Ocheyedan, South Page, Ruthven-Ayrshire, Le Mars, Laurens-Marathon, Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Grinnell-Newburg, Diagonal, East Sac County, Davenport, Exira-Elk Horn, West Sioux, Colo-NESCO, South Tama County, Lenox, Creston, Harmony, Cardinal, Carlisle, Washington, Wayne, Fort Dodge, North Iowa, North Winneshiek, Sioux City, Northwood-Kensett, Eagle Grove.