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Living for Free

Since our inception we have given two types of scholarships to residents at Real Deal who meet predetermined requirements. The two types of scholarships and their terms are as follows:

1.     Full-ride: complete coverage of services for a set amount of time. Residents live in our facilities for 30-90 days free of charge and agree to begin making payments after the scholarship period ends. Their scholarship length is based on their financial situation on entering Real Deal and designed to give them enough time to begin paying. Like other residents, they are required to find employment and participate in all Real Deal programming. They may not use government-funded subsidies for any part of their payment.

2.     Partial payment: a discounted rate for a resident’s entire stay at Real Deal. Other than the discount, they are treated the same as other residents and must meet the same requirements.

Dark and musty the path looks.

The Results

After offering both types of scholarships for 3 years, we have made the following observations:

1.     No full-ride scholarship recipient has ever fulfilled their agreement to begin paying. 93% left our program voluntarily once their scholarship ended and 7% were removed from the program for violating program rules (using drugs or alcohol or failing to meet other requirements).

2.     Among partial scholarship recipients the success rates were much higher. 88% successfully completed the program and discharged, 7% left voluntarily and prematurely, and 5% were removed for violating rules.


We believe these results present a definitive conclusion. Offering residents a “free ride” creates a lack of accountability and personal responsibility, something which is extremely dangerous to those in recovery, tantamount to enabling their addiction. Those who were at least partially responsible for their own costs were much more successful. We believe this is because the services we provided were of greater value to them, while no such impression was made on the full ride scholarship recipients.

Individuals who made any contribution, even when most of their costs were covered by family members or scholarships, were more successful than those who made no contributions at all. This teaches a clear lesson about recovery with obvious parallels to other areas of life.