Release

Wayne State first lady Jacqueline Wilson meets with Dept. of Ed. undersecretary

September 22, 2017


On Sept. 19, Wayne State University first lady Jacqueline Wilson traveled to Washington, D.C. to introduce Department of Education Undersecretary James Manning to the university’s Helping Individuals Go Higher (HIGH) Program.

The program began as a response to Wilson’s discovery of homeless students at the university. She was astonished to hear about a graduate student living out of her car and became a vocal advocate for homeless students.

The HIGH Program was established in 2013 to help homeless, precariously housed and financially challenged students earn a degree from Wayne State University. Awards range from $250 to $2,500, with an average of $1,500. Since 2013, more than 175 students have been awarded financial support or referred to other funding sources. 

This week’s meeting served as an initial introduction to the HIGH Program and its mission. Manning was particularly interested in the program’s goals moving forward and opportunities for schools around the United States to establish similar initiatives.

In addition to his current appointment by President Donald Trump, Manning also served the Department of Education under President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. He is widely respected for his deep knowledge of the department’s bureaucracy and for having a student-focused outlook. 

Manning was excited by the work of the HIGH Program and indicated that his office would be in touch moving forward with ideas for possible connections and resources. 

Photo: (From left to right) Brianna Ellison, associate director of advocacy and community programs for Wayne State, and WSU first lady Jacqueline Wilson visit the Department of Education.