Michigan 4-H helps youth prepare and pay for college

Through programs that prepare students for college and an array of financial scholarships that make college more affordable, MSU Extension is helping youth to prepare and pay for college. It also provides scholarships to outstanding 4-H alumni.

4-H clover with a graduation cap on top.

With a commitment to preparing Michigan’s children and youth for the future, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension places a heavy emphasis on postsecondary education. Through programs that prepare students for college and an array of financial scholarships that make college more affordable, MSU Extension is helping youth to prepare and pay for college.

MSU Extension’s flagship program, Michigan 4-H, is the largest youth development program in the state. With opportunities to explore one’s interests and talents in almost any subject available, Michigan 4-H also helps prepare youth for higher education by helping them to develop critical life skills and try out and explore various career choices and fields. These experiences are just one of the reasons that Michigan 4-H’ers are more likely to attend college than their same-age peers, as reported in the 2020 Michigan 4-H Alumni College Access Project report. This report found that 61 percent of Michigan 4-H alums enrolled in postsecondary education in the fall after high school, compared with 55 percent of their same-age peers.

“Michigan 4-H helps youth to develop important life skills such as goal setting and planning for the future,” said Jacob DeDecker, state 4-H leader and associate director of MSU Extension’s children and youth programs. “We’re excited to see so many of our state’s 4-H youth taking the lessons learned in 4-H and applying them to postsecondary education after high school.”

The rewards of the 4-H experience are even greater for the six Michigan 4-H’ers who were chosen to receive the 2020 MSU 4-H scholarships. This award is given annually to six outstanding 4-H’ers who attend MSU and is worth $2,500 a year for four consecutive years. To be eligible for this scholarship, these members must have been involved with 4-H at some level, county, regional, state, national or international, and demonstrate outstanding achievements through 4-H, their academic classwork and their community involvement. The 2020 recipients are:

  • Adele Battel, Tuscola County.
  • Rebecca Havelka, Menominee County.
  • Allison Hawken, Tuscola County.
  • Tyler Lindquist, Osceola County.
  • Kara O’Day, Washtenaw County.
  • Caroline Taylor, Dickinson County.

In addition to making college more financially attainable for these youth, 4-H also helped them make the decision on what degrees to pursue.

“My involvement in 4-H has allowed me to discover my desire for animals,” said Caroline Taylor. “I have decided to pursue a degree in animal science and plan to eventually attend MSU veterinary school. 4-H has consistently assisted me in creating a steady foundation for my future by motivating me, supporting me and providing me with many beneficial, life-altering opportunities.”

“I currently plan to major in biology with the intent of grad school in the future,” said Allison Hawken. “I developed a love of science through many 4-H camps and conferences over the course of my childhood. MSU was my top college choice because of their value of research. Through 4-H, I learned of MSU’s countless research opportunities.”

Thanks to the generous support of Janet and former Governor James Blanchard, Michigan 4-H alumni can now take advantage of a new 4-H scholarship: the Janet A. Blanchard 4-H Leadership Scholarship. This application period for this opportunity is open from March 1-31. Learn more and apply at scholarships.msu.edu. Additional scholarships for 4-H youth are available in the fall; visit the 4-H Scholarships and Recognition page for more information.

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