Universities Accept Record Number Of Low-Income Students Through QuestBridge


QuestBridge, the national nonprofit that connects low-income youth with dozens of leading colleges and universities, announced that 1,755 students had matched with the colleges of their choice in this year’s early admissions cycle. That’s the highest number of Questbridge Match Scholarship recipients in history.

Started in 1994 as a five-week residential summer enrichment program for high school juniors on Stanford’s campus, QuestBridge was launched in 2004 by Michael McCullough and Ana Rowena Mallari. With the help of considerable private funding, it has evolved into one of the nation’s leading programs for helping outstanding students from low-income backgrounds gain admission to highly selective colleges and receive full-ride, four year scholarships from those institutions.

Early decision admissions have been roundly criticized for discriminating against low-income students and creating a province of the privileged that favors white and wealthy applicants. QuestBridge has become one of the country’s more visible efforts to mitigate some of the the bias associated with early admissions.

How It Works

QuestBridge partners with a group of the nation’s most prestigious schools to identify and support high-achieving, low-income students through a unique process called the National College Match application.

As part of a free application through Questbridge, students complete one application in which they rank up to 15 of the partnering colleges in order of their preference for attendance. Those students who are then selected as finalists have their information forwarded to all their ranked QuestBridge colleges.

A “match” occurs when one of a student’s ranked colleges offers admission and a guaranteed four-year Match Scholarship. Student “match” to only one school – the highest on their list that also wants to match with them.

Match Scholarships cover the full cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and travel expenses. Similar to other early admissions, most of the colleges participating in QuestBridge require students to accept their offer as binding.

Finalists who do not gain admission through the match process, might still be considered for an Early Action or Early Decision admission, or they can be admitted later during the regular cycle.

This Year’s Resutls

This year, out of over 17,900 applicants, QuestBridge selected 5,613 finalists to be considered for a Match Scholarship. From that group, 1,755 students ultimately matched and were accepted by one of QuestBridge’s 48 mostly private college partners.

This year’s Match Scholarship recipients come from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. They had an average unweighted GPA of 3.94, and 94% were in the top 10% of their graduating class.

About 94% come from a household with an annual income below $65,000, and 88% qualified for free or reduced-price school meals. Among this year’s Match Scholarship recipients, 80% are among the first generation in their families to attend a four-year college in the U.S.

“This record-breaking result further motivates us to help outstanding students obtain the top education that they deserve,” said Ana Rowena Mallari, Co-Founder and CEO of QuestBridge. “These bright and motivated students have a determination to succeed that will help them thrive well beyond their college years, and we’re excited to see where their dreams take them next.”

QuestBridge’s college partners include top liberal arts colleges such as Amherst, Pomona, Holy Cross, Colby and Carleton and major research universities such as Duke, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, University of Chicago, University of Virginia, Rice and Yale.

In recent announcements of their early decision admission results, several colleges highlighted the number of QuestBridge admits.

Since its founding, the QuestBridge National College Match has successfully connected over 12,000 students with full scholarships at partner colleges. The 2022 Match Scholarship Recipients are the first QuestBridge Scholars in the Class of 2027. Based on the program’s history, it’s estimated that approximately 2,000 finalists ultimately will be admitted to QuestBridge college partners through Early and Regular Decision processes.

Finalists who enroll in a QuestBridge college become part of the QuestBridge Scholars Network, which offers ongoing support and resources through nationwide opportunities and campus communities. QuestBridge also provides the opportunity for its alumni to apply for full-tuition scholarships to top business schools through its Graduate School Match: MBA. The QuestBridge Scholars Network and Alumni Association now include over 20,000 current college students and graduates worldwide.

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