Stellenbosch University
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SU Welcomes Second Class of Dell Young Leaders
Author: Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
Published: 05/11/2021

​Stellenbosch University (SU) is excited to announce the next 150 first-year students who have been selected onto the Dell Young Leaders programme. These students join a community of 100 students selected in the inaugural 2020 class, as the programme seeks to support 1,000 Maties by 2024. 

Dell Young Leaders students are driven and committed, residing from low-income communities and breaking barriers as they study professional and in-demand degrees at SU. The majority of students in the programme – which is funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation – are the first in their families to attend university.

Aimed at enabling students to successfully graduate and start a meaningful career, the programme offers personalised advice and targeted support and resources, as well as a top-up scholarship to cover any gaps in each student's full cost of attendance. All 100 students selected into the programme in 2020 have remained resilient and on-track with their studies, with the first Dell Young Leaders graduates at SU expected in 2022. Graduates from the Dell Young Leaders programme at other partner universities in South Africa have paved a pathway to prosperity, with 98% of the over 530 graduates to date entering employment or career-enhancing further study within three months of completing their degrees. As Dell Young Leaders alumni, they have also gone on to earn (on average) 49% above the national median graduate starting salary for leading professional graduate programmes. 

“We are continuously inspired by the resilience shown by the students in our programme, particularly despite the challenges of the last two years. With the unemployment rate for young graduates rising to 40% in 2021, it has never been more important to support these high-potential young people to have the opportunity to transform their lives and the lives of their families," said Helen Vaughan, Program Manager of University Success in South Africa at the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. “We are excited to extend the programme's reach in partnership with Stellenbosch University." 

In the spirit of ensuring more students thrive, SU has committed to allocating increased scholarship funds of its own to grow the number of students who will benefit from this programme, thereby doubling up on student success.

Based within the Registrar's division, the Dell Young Leaders programme aims to help form an ecosystem of support and adds to several of SU's ongoing initiatives to drive student success. “Supporting the student life-cycle administratively has always been a core function of the Registrar's team.  The Dell Young Leaders programme affords us an opportunity to collaborate across the institution towards an increasingly integrated student support offering – with the potential to scale and expand this offering to benefit more students at SU," said SU's Registrar, Dr. Ronel Retief. 

“We are grateful for the continued support of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to the point that we are welcoming our second class of Dell Young Leaders, despite the very challenging 18 months since the outbreak of the pandemic.  We look forward to unlocking the full potential of this partnership in service and support of our most important stakeholders – our students."​