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Northwestern to Join QuestBridge Program to Increase Outreach to Low-Income Students

As part of its continuing efforts to attract and enroll a diverse group of students, Northwestern plans to join QuestBridge, a non-profit program that links low-income students with educational opportunities at some of the nation's best colleges.

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May 20, 2008 | by Alan K. Cubbage
EVANSTON, Ill. --- As part of its continuing efforts to attract and enroll a diverse group of students, Northwestern University plans to join QuestBridge, a non-profit program that links low-income students with educational opportunities at some of the nation's best colleges.

Northwestern will provide full four-year scholarships covering tuition, room and board for as many as 25 low-income students annually, said Michael Mills, associate provost for enrollment management. In addition, Northwestern will offer as many as 50 additional partial scholarships annually for students accepted to Northwestern through the QuestBridge program.

"We're very pleased to be able to further our commitment to reaching a broad range of students who would benefit from a Northwestern education," Mills said. "Coupled with our new no-loan and loan-cap policies instituted this year, we intend to make Northwestern financially possible for outstanding students of all incomes."

For undergraduate students entering next fall, Northwestern has eliminated student loans and replaced them with grants for students with the greatest financial need. The change means that students who qualify will be able to attend Northwestern without taking out any student loans. Northwestern determines a student's eligibility for financial aid by considering family income, assets, liabilities, family size, the number of students in college and extenuating circumstances.

In addition, all undergraduate financial aid recipients who take out subsidized Stafford or Perkins loans, the two major federal need-based loan programs, will have those loans capped at no more than $20,000 over four years. The University expects that the no-loan and loan-cap programs will benefit more than 1,400 of its 8,000 undergraduate students.

The QuestBridge program will augment Northwestern's outreach efforts, Mills said. QuestBridge's National College Match Program connects high-achieving, low-income students with admission and scholarships to approximately 20 partner colleges and universities. In 2007, more than 700 students received admissions and significant scholarship grants from partner institutions, which include Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Chicago and Columbia, among others.

"We're excited to have Northwestern as a partner," said QuestBridge co-founder Michael McCullough. "While all of Northwestern's undergraduate programs are strong, I'm particularly excited about the Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME), a seven-year B.S./M.D. program," he said. McCullough, a doctor himself and a former Rhodes Scholar, said that HPME is a unique offering in QuestBridge, which should result in "the very brightest pre-medical students taking a real interest" in Northwestern.

The funding for the QuestBridge program scholarships, as well as the no-loan and loan-cap programs, will come from Northwestern's endowment earnings.

Northwestern currently provides more than $70 million in University-funded grants and scholarships for undergraduate students. Approximately 60 percent of Northwestern undergraduate students receive financial aid.
Topics: University