Taylor provides some interesting details on Questbridge in pages 29-30.

A very new initiative for Williams is participation in the QuestBridge Program, which is a third party service that matches low-income, high-ability students with the top colleges and universities in the nation. The QuestBridge Program actively targets low-income students with the promise that if these students are able to become QuestBridge scholars, they will be given the opportunity to attend a prestigious university for no fee. QuestBridge rigorously chooses their scholars, and then matches the students with appropriate institutions based on their academic qualifications and their ability to qualify for a full ride. The program is effective because of its simple advertising campaign, which is easy for low-income students to understand, and because it takes a lot of the work out of the college search for these students. Since many low-income students are the first in their families to attend college, they are unfamiliar with the college application process, and the QuestBridge program simplifies the process for them. QuestBridge is attractive to colleges and universities because it identifies qualified low-income applicants, saving these institutions the trouble of finding these students themselves. It is helping these institutions reach out to low-income students by increasing awareness about the feasibility of attending a selective school.

The program is relatively new, as it was started in 2003, but seems to be valuable and effective thus far. For the 2004-2005 applicant year, Williams received 8 1 “matches” from the QuestBridge program. The college determined that 14 of these 8 1 actually qualified as needing a full ride under Williams’ financial aid equation, and all 14 were accepted. Of these students, 6 were male and 8 were female, and at least 9 of them were minority students. The students came fi-om all reaches of the United States, fi-om Hawaii to Texas to New York. In addition to these admits, Williams also contacted a number of other students from the QuestBridge list, telling them that the College could not offer them a full ride but that it could give them a great aid package and encouraging them to apply. Of these, seven students applied to Williams and accepted the offers of admission. Only one of these students was male, and five were minorities. With the QuestBridge program, Williams is essentially contracting out some of its admissions work, and this year received 21 students that otherwise inight not have applied. The college pays QuestBridge a $15,000 annual fee, then pays $4,000 for each student obtained through the program that completes his or her first year at Williams.

See here for previous EphBlog posts on Questbridge.

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