UNIVERSITY CITY (WPVI) -- As graduation season is upon us, a program at Drexel University is working to make sure that under represented and first generation students stay on track to get that diploma.
In its third year, the Westphal Bridge scholars has its first crop of rising seniors who have been getting unconventional help and resources that are often readily available to the average student.
The pilot program launched in the fall of 2020 with about 16 freshman, who are now rising seniors. Since then, the program has swelled to 76 minority and/or first generation students across 16 academic disciplines with a goal aimed to keep them on track to graduate.
"We understand that the students that come to us may not have access to the same resources at home," said Denise Marie Snow, founding director of Westphal Bridge Scholars and program director of Wesphal Diversity Programs and Partnerships. "Sometimes its books, art supplies, food, transportation."
Donors to this program are alums from the Westphal School of Design. Their largest donor is a VP at Apple.
"Some really big generous donors," she said. "So we can do things like clear a balance if a student has a hold."
That was the case for junior Sinai Simmons.
"They were like in order to register for classes you have to get this hold off of your account," said Simmons. "Then I reached out to Miss Denise and she put me in contact with someone right away. So it's little things like that."
The program also does traditional services, like helps with internships and career readiness opportunities with an 85% retention rate.
They accepts applications every summer for a new class of students.
For more information on the Westphal Bridge Scholars Program, CLICK HERE.