Northwestern University Is the Newest Partner in the QuestBridge Program

According to data obtained by JBHE from the Department of Education, only 8.8 percent of all undergraduate students at Northwestern University receive federal Pell Grants. The percentage of students who receive Pell Grants is generally accepted as a valid barometer for the number of low-income students at a particular university.

Among the nation’s 25 highest academically ranked universities, Northwestern ranks near the bottom in its percentage of low-income students. Furthermore, the percentage of low-income students at Northwestern has dropped over the past two decades.

JBHE data also shows that, over the past decade, Northwestern University is one of only four high-ranking universities that has shown a drop in the number of black students in its entering class.

Now Northwestern is taking a big step to improve its racial and socioeconomic diversity. Beginning with the next admissions cycle, Northwestern will become the 25th partner institution of QuestBridge.

QuestBridge is a nonprofit program that links bright, motivated, low-income students with educational and scholarship opportunities at some of the nation’s best colleges and universities. In 2007 more than 700 students were admitted and received significant scholarship grants from partner colleges through the organization’s National College Match program.

Here’s how the program works: College-bound high school students file applications with QuestBridge by October 1 of their senior year. They then submit a list of the partnering colleges and universities they would like to attend. Students can submit their list in order of preference. QuestBridge will attempt to gain admission for these students to the colleges on their list in the stated order of preference.

If a “match” can be made for any of the schools on a student’s list, the student is notified by October 20. He or she then submits an early application to that particular school by November 1 with the assurance that the student will be accepted and will receive a full-tuition scholarship. Students agree to binding admission if they are matched to any school on their list of preferred colleges or universities. Students who are not matched can choose to be reinserted into the regular admissions process at the colleges and universities on their preference list.

Northwestern will provide up to 25 full scholarships to low-income students under the QuestBridge college match program.