David Jesse, higher education reporter for the Detroit Free Press, where he has spent nearly a decade covering the state’s private and public colleges and universities.  During his time at the Free Press he was part of a multi-year investigation of Michigan’s charter school system, a system championed by current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. He has written extensively on the Larry Nassar scandal at Michigan State University, including stories exposing the university decades-long coverups , the effort from top official to only push positive news about the school, and perks handed out to former president Lou Anna Simon as she resigned in disgrace. He has detailed how the University of Michigan steered money from its endowment to donors. He also spent extensive time in rural Michigan, showing how a lack of access to higher education is harming low-income residents.

Jesse was named the top education beat reporter in the nation by the Education Writers Association (2018). He is a 2016 and 2019 Education Writers Association fellow and has won nearly three dozen state and national awards for his work.

Jesse, a graduate of Cornerstone University, will spend his fellowship looking at small liberal arts colleges across the Midwest. He plans to detail the shaky future for these schools and the small, often rural, towns that rely on the schools as the prime economic force.