College Access Group QuestBridge and BU Partner to Give Need-Based Scholarships
Up to 30 undergrads will matriculate in fall 2022, with all expenses paid
As many as 30 low-income high-achieving students will matriculate at BU in fall 2022—on full scholarships, with no loans or parent contributions—thanks to a new partnership between the University and a nonprofit promoting college access.
California-based QuestBridge matches member universities and colleges with high school students, most of them the first in their family to attend college, says Kelly Walter (Wheelock’81), BU’s associate vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions. BU becomes the 45th institution to partner with Questbridge, and the partnership caps two years of work on the collaboration, Walter says.
Money for the scholarships will be provided by BU, which spent $290 million on financial aid in the 2020 fiscal year. QuestBridge recruits applicants and culls the number down to finalists (nearly 7,000 this year), who are asked to name the member institutions they’d like to attend. QuestBridge then forwards their applications to those schools for consideration.
“There is no required commitment to select a predetermined number of students as QuestBridge Scholars,” Walter says. “As is often true, the number of offers will depend on the strength of our applicant pool. However, it is likely that BU will welcome between 20 and 30 QuestBridge Scholars in the fall of 2022.”
She says that QuestBridge’s “vision aligns almost perfectly with Boston University’s founding principles, which state that higher education should be accessible to all and that research, scholarship, artistic creation, and professional practice should be conducted in the service of the wider community.
“These principles endure in the University’s insistence on the value of diversity, in its tradition and standards of excellence, and in its dynamic engagement with the City of Boston and the world.”
Further, Walter adds, “Our partnership with QuestBridge will allow us to expand our commitment to help underserved and underrepresented students. Bringing together a group of accomplished students who are united by a common interest in learning and with varied life experiences will contribute to the dynamic educational environment of the University.”
In addition to Walter, other University leaders met with QuestBridge, among them Jean Morrison, provost and chief academic officer, Julie Wickstrom, executive director of financial assistance, and Christine McGuire, vice president and associate provost for enrollment and student administration.
“Partnering with Questbridge,” McGuire says, “is aligned with the University’s new Strategic Plan and the priority to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. Questbridge is one of many steps the University is taking to advance our commitment to underrepresented students and increase diversity.”
Founded in 2003, QuestBridge asks member institutions to cover the full cost of tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and travel expenses during a student’s four undergraduate years. Other members in Massachusetts are Amherst College, Boston College, MIT, Wellesley College, Williams College, and Tufts University.
For fall 2021, 1,464 students will be QuestBridge Scholars at member schools. “Both Boston University and QuestBridge share in making higher education more accessible, with students represented from every economic segment of society,” says Ana McCullough, the group’s cofounder and CEO. “We believe this partnership will create opportunities for our students to access an exceptional education, while contributing their remarkably diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences to the Boston University community.”
QuestBridge says that 95 percent of students it nominates for aid have family incomes of less than $65,000, 87 percent qualified in high school for free or reduced-charge school lunches, and 78 percent are first-generation college students. They have an average GPA of 3.93, and 94 percent are in the top 10th of their high school class in academics.