There was an article in yesterday’s “New York Times” entitled “‘A National Admissions Office’ for Low-Income Strivers” that we figured would be of interest to some of the readers of our college admissions blog. It should be of particular interest to students from low-income families who don’t believe they can attend a certain highly selective college simply because their parents can’t afford to send them there. With QuestBridge, an organization founded by entrepreneurs Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, these students no longer have to stress about whether their parents can afford the cost of tuition. They no longer have to stress about complicated financial aid forms. They no longer have to stress about whether or not their aid will disappear after their first year of college.
As articulated in the piece on low-income students applying to colleges in “The New York Times,” “College admissions officers attribute the organization’s success to the simplicity of its approach to students. It avoids mind-numbingly complex talk of financial-aid forms and formulas that scare away so many low-income families (and frustrate so many middle-income families, like my own when I was applying to college). QuestBridge instead gives students a simple message: If you get in, you can go. Yet the broader lessons of QuestBridge aren’t only about how to communicate with students. They’re also how our society spends the limited resource that is financial aid. The group’s founders, Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, are now turning their attention to the estimated $3 billion in outside scholarships, from local Rotary Clubs, corporations and other groups, that are awarded every year to high school seniors. The McCulloughs see this money as a wasted opportunity, saying it comes too late to affect whether and where students go to college. It doesn’t help the many high-achieving, low-income strivers who don’t apply to top colleges — and often don’t graduate from any college.”
Many students succeed in high school in spite of coming from low-income backgrounds where they have to work minimum wage jobs after school lets out each day. Many students succeed in high school because they come fro low-income backgrounds where they have to work minimum wage jobs after school lets out. Either way, these students are the kinds of students that highly selective colleges seek out and QuestBridge is a tremendous program with many participating highly selective institutions that takes so much of the worrying whether or not one’s parents can afford college out of the college admissions process. If a student gets into a school, with QuestBridge’s help, they can go. And that is a credit to Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough, pioneers in the field of opening access to higher education for deserving students of low-income families.
Ivy Coach salutes Michael and Ana Rowena McCullough for their extraordinary work over the years! Well done. And, while you’re here, read about what Amherst College has done over the years to welcome low-income students. Oh, and if you’re curious if Amherst is among QuestBridge’s partner colleges, they sure are! So are: Bowdoin College, Brown University, Caltech, Carleton College, Colorado College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Davidson College, Emory University, Grinnell College, Haverford College, MIT, Northwestern University, Oberlin College, Pomona College, Princeton University, Rice University, Scripps College, Stanford University, Swarthmore College, Trinity College, Tufts University, University of Chicago, Notre Dame University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, Vassar College, Washington and Lee University, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, Williams College, and Yale University.
So pretty much most highly selective colleges! Are there some top schools not currently partnered with QuestBridge? Yes. Hi, Duke, for instance. But we suspect all highly selective colleges will soon be partnered with this tremendous organization…