Emory Report
June 25, 2007
Volume 59, Number 33

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June 25, 2007
Emory partners in nationwide quest for talented, low-income students

by beverly clark

Emory has joined a select coalition of universities and colleges that have partnered with QuestBridge, a national non-profit that links highly qualified, low-income students with full four-year scholarship opportunities at some of the nation’s best colleges.

The QuestBridge College Match program includes Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and Rice universities, as well as small liberal arts colleges such as Bowdoin, Oberlin and Wellesley.

Scholarship winners are culturally, ethnically and geographically diverse. This academic year, 79 percent of the scholars are the first in their families to attend a four-year college. Students typically have family incomes under $62,000 a year, and 40 percent come from families with incomes less than $20,000. Nearly 90 percent graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and 22 percent were ranked first.

“QuestBridge will allow us to cast a wider net to find highly qualified, low-income students,” said Santa Ono, vice provost for academic initiatives. “QuestBridge does an excellent job of identifying such students, and helps them overcome some of the most significant barriers they face in their pursuit of a college education, namely a lack of access to information and counseling.”

Earlier this year, Emory launched the Emory Advantage financial aid program, which reduces debt burden for families with annual incomes of $100,000 or less that demonstrate a need for financial aid. The program reduces the amount borrowed to pay for an undergraduate Emory degree. Students from families making less than $50,000 annually can graduate from Emory debt-free, and loans are capped at $15,000 for families earning more than $50,000 but less than $100,000.

The goal is to make an Emory education attainable for any qualified student, regardless of income, which makes QuestBridge an excellent match to help the University find students who can benefit from the program, said Jean Jordan, interim dean of admission.

“QuestBridge begins working with talented, low-income students early in their high school careers, and works to guide them to some of the most selective colleges and universities in the country. Their connections in these students’ schools and communities will help Emory become more well-known as a choice for them,” Jordan said.

QuestBridge was founded by Stanford alumni to identify high-achieving, low-income students nationwide, assist them with their applications and help them identify competitive colleges they would like to attend.
“We are pleased to welcome Emory University as a QuestBridge partner. We are very thoughtful in choosing partner institutions, and we know that at Emory we have found a partner with both outstanding academic programs and a sincere interest in mentoring and supporting the nation’s most talented low-income youth,” said Mike McCullough, CEO of QuestBridge.

Through the College Match Program, high school seniors chosen as finalists have their names and applications submitted by QuestBridge to college “partners” during the early admissions cycle in lieu of submitting their applications directly to schools.

The colleges then rank the students they are interested in, and the students rank their top-choice colleges. If there is a match, the student may attend the school and receive a scholarship package that includes full cost of tuition, books and room and board. Students who do not find a match during the early admissions cycle may apply to their choices during regular decision.

More than 100 full scholarships were awarded last year. QuestBridge estimates that an additional 500 were admitted to partner schools through the regular decision process with extremely generous financial aid packages. For more information, visit www.questbridge.org.