The new “Bearcat Advantage” scholarship seeks to eliminate opportunity gaps for graduating students and improve access to higher education.
May 17, 2023
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Today, Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS) announced the Bearcat Advantage, a new scholarship that covers up to 100% of college tuition and fees for all eligible graduates, beginning with the graduating class of 2023. In partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), this historic investment builds off of all the progress of the school district’s transformation work that began over six years ago and ensures that the next generation of BCPS students can continue on the path to career, college and community success after they graduate.
“At BCPS, we believe in every student’s potential for success and are committed to tearing down obstacles that stand in their way, ” said Kimberly Carter, Superintendent of BCPS. “We believe that equity is about opportunity, and this scholarship brings the possibility of higher education to students who otherwise may not have the resources to pursue it. Our vision for success focuses on eliminating opportunity gaps that have existed for many years as a result of systemic inequities, and developing world-class educational experiences for the students we serve.”
The Bearcat Advantage scholarship will:
• Cover up to 100 percent of tuition and mandatory fees at any public or private four-year college or university in Michigan, or at any of the nearly 100 eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) across the country for eligible graduates of BCPS.
• Award scholarship amounts on a sliding scale based on the length of time a student has been continuously enrolled at BCPS.
o For example, those who have been a student at BCPS for at least every year of high school will be eligible to receive a 65% scholarship. Those who have been a student at BCPS for all of K-12 will be eligible to receive a 100% scholarship.
• Be available to use for a four-year undergraduate degree for up to six years after high school graduation.
In order for Battle Creek to offer a bright future to its families and young people, all children must have the opportunity to get an excellent education. The Bearcat Advantage opens a new pathway to four-year colleges and universities for more students in this community by removing the potential barrier of student loan debt. Those who previously may have had to turn down their dream school or who may not have even considered college as an option due to financial circumstances now have expanded opportunities to pursue higher education. In addition to already existing scholarships and resources for post-secondary opportunities at two-year colleges and trade schools, the Bearcat Advantage will have a positive impact on BCPS students and the broader Battle Creek community for generations to come.
The Bearcat Advantage scholarship was made possible by WKKF, which has served as a longtime partner to BCPS and has been committed to supporting children and families in Battle Creek since its founding. In 2017, WKKF provided the district with a historic five-year, $51 million investment in support of a district transformation with the goal of increasing racial equity by reducing barriers to success for children in the community.
The transformation has spurred new opportunities for students to thrive by rolling out new academic and extracurricular programs, and increased systems of support for BCPS families. For example, Battle Creek Central High School was re-envisioned with a Career Academies model to provide all students with the opportunity to explore different career paths through hands-on, experiential curriculum while developing the skills necessary to excel in school, the workforce and beyond. BCPS has spent the past six years establishing a strong, sustainable foundation for student success; this new scholarship will now play an integral role in ensuring the success of each student beyond graduation day.
“The Bearcat Advantage is not just an investment in our students; it’s an investment in our hometown of Battle Creek,” said WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. “With this opportunity, current and future generations of Bearcats will find their own unique path to success and shape our collective future.”
To learn more about the Bearcat Advantage, visit battlecreekpublicschools.org/BearcatAdvantage.
Nate Hunt, Communications Manager
Battle Creek Public Schools
About Battle Creek Public Schools (BCPS)
BCPS is a school district located in Calhoun County, Michigan, serving the City of Battle Creek as well as parts of Emmett, Pennfield and Bedford townships, and the City of Springfield. With a bold goal of achieving 100% success for every Bearcat, the district offers a broad range of educational experiences to meet the individual needs of students at all levels, including project-based learning, individualized instruction, advanced and accelerated curricula and outdoor education experiences. In 2017, BCPS received a historic investment from WKKF to undergo a five-year district transformation. Now on the heels of the transformation plan, the district is entering year seven of the partnership with WKKF to advance bold, top-to-bottom changes and provide a world-class career-, college- and community-ready education for every student, in every grade, at every school.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)
WKKF was founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, and is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work, and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, in Mexico and Haiti.