Detroit – The Kresge Foundation announced a $450,000 grant Monday to the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation for a campaign to increase the number of Metro Detroit residents with college degrees.

According to Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information, 73 percent of southeast Michigan high school graduates enroll in college within 12 months but only 35 percent earn a degree or credential within six years.

“The Kresge Foundation’s grant allows the Chamber to both develop and implement a strategic blueprint to bolster postsecondary attainment throughout the region,” Sandy Baruah, chamber president and CEO, said in a statement.

The chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees program, started in 2015, aims to increase college attendance and graduation.

“This grant is a recognition of how terribly important it is to have in place ways to ensure that students are successful once they enter college,” Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, said in an interview.

“So often we assume the challenge is getting kids into college, and that is a big jump, and it’s absolutely important. But equally important is making sure they succeed once they are there,” he said. “So this grant is going to help us understand all of the different ways in which students’ success can be pursued in the Detroit region ... to make sure (students) graduate prepared for work and prepared for life.”

Over the next three years, the chamber and the Detroit Drives Degrees Leadership Council will set regional improvement goals and track progress toward meeting them.

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