Lakeland partnership paves the way for more college grads

Lakeland University and College Possible are proud to announce a new partnership that will pave the way for more Milwaukee students to enroll at Lakeland this fall, leading to an increase in college graduates in the region.

Thanks to financial support from Lakeland’s new Cooperative Education program and the Bradley Foundation, 21 College Possible students attending Lakeland this fall will have the opportunity to blend paid work experiences for credit with traditional coursework. This income, combined with scholarships, provides students the opportunity to earn as much as $100,000 during their four years of college, giving them the potential to reduce student loan debt and providing them with 12-18 months of professional work experience.

This program was driven by the knowledge that the primary obstacle facing college students from low-income backgrounds is financing their education.

“As access to higher education has continued to grow, equity among who can earn a degree and how to pay for it has not,” said Lakeland President David Black. “The cost of tuition at many schools has continued to increase, pricing out those students that come from low-income communities who have the academic skills and drive needed to earn a degree.”

The Bradley Foundation is funding scholarships that allow these College Possible students to live and learn on Lakeland’s campus while working in the Sheboygan area this summer. The Bradley Foundation will help pay a portion of their freshman year Lakeland tuition bill. Students will fund the remainder of their education through scholarships, the wages they earn working and other financial aid.

21 College Possible students will enroll at Lakeland University this fall.

These are not the first College Possible students to attend Lakeland, but many previous students, despite receiving financial aid, could not stay enrolled due to their lack of funds. Lakeland’s Cooperative Education model and the Bradley Foundation support addresses the funding gap.

Since 2008, College Possible has worked to address the issue of higher education access in the city of Milwaukee, helping thousands of our youth gain admission into colleges and universities and support them as they complete their degrees.

Kelly Schaer, College Possible Milwaukee program director, recalled a conversation earlier this year with Lakeland about the financial gap facing the students they serve.

“Lakeland has responded with action and has found a way to have more College Possible students enroll at Lakeland,” Schaer said. “Lakeland’s enrollment will increase dramatically because they are demonstrating to our students that they are wanted and supported on campus. It is so important for our students to know that they have champions on campus waiting for them to be part of campus and lead into a diverse and welcoming student body.

“Because of this partnership between College Possible and Lakeland, I have full confidence that our enrolling students will be college graduates in four years. They will have successfully built the skills, knowledge and experiences they need to enter the workforce and create a wonderful future for themselves.”

Black said Lakeland’s Cooperative Education program will help more students realize their goals of earning a college degree. And, he said, Lakeland is eager to form more partnerships like the one with College Possible.

“We admire the work that College Possible has been doing to help Milwaukee young people realize their dream of earning a college degree, and we are proud to partner with them in this new endeavor,” Black said. “None of this would be possible without the generous support of the Bradley Foundation, and we are so thankful they share our vision of the power of cooperative education.”

College Possible students in this new program have already begun working, spending the summer living in university residence halls and working for one of three local resorts: Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake or one of Destination Kohler’s properties.

Students on a campus visit to Lakeland University last year.

The students are also enrolled in a six-week Level Up program preparing them academically, socially, financially and professionally. Through the program, the students will:

  • Develop additional skills in reading and mathematics.
  • Learn how to succeed in traditional and online classroom environments.
  • Adjust to campus life and sample Sheboygan County culture.
  • Gain valuable job experience and begin developing a professional network.

Lakeland and College Possible will celebrate this new partnership on Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. at Lakeland’s Milwaukee Center, 9000 W. Chester St., Milwaukee. Community members, partners and media are invited to attend this event and learn more about the partnership.

ABOUT LAKELAND UNIVERSITY: Founded in 1862, Lakeland is a four-year, private university that integrates the liberal arts and experiential learning. Lakeland’s main campus is located in Sheboygan County, and the institution has strong ties to the United Church of Christ. Lakeland serves more than 3,000 students, from traditional undergraduates at its main campus to undergraduate and graduate students taking evening and online courses through one of Lakeland’s seven centers located throughout Wisconsin. Lakeland also has a two-year campus in Tokyo, Japan. Learn more at


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