Wayne State First Lady Jacqueline Wilson meets with Department of Education Under Secretary

By Brianna Ellison

As part of her ongoing crusade against student homelessness, WSU First Lady Jacqueline Wilson traveled to Washington D.C. in September to introduce U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary James Manning to the university’s groundbreaking Helping Individuals Go Higher (HIGH) Program.

Started in 2013 as a presidential response to Wilson’s personal discovery of homeless students at the university—the First Lady’s passion for the issue was stoked after she learned the story of a WSU graduate who was living out of her car—the HIGH Program provides financial support to homeless, precariously housed and financially challenged students at Wayne State. Financial awards range from $250 to $2,500, with an average of $1,500.

Since 2013, more than 175 students targeted by the program have been awarded financial support or have been referred to other funding sources.

The First Lady’s meeting with the Department of Education served as an initial introduction to the HIGH program and its mission. Under Secretary Manning was particularly interested in the successes of the program, program goals moving forward and opportunities for other schools around the United States to establish similar initiatives.

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.

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 noted for a deep knowledge of the department’s bureaucracy and a student-focused outlook.

Photo 1: (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.

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