The Posse Foundation, which is celebrating its 25th year of existence, announced the 680 scholarship recipients from the high school class of 2015, on Tuesday. This year’s Posse Scholar class will go on to top colleges and universities nationwide with full financial assistance.
Partner institutions have awarded the Posse Scholars a total of $115 million, the largest amount yet in the foundation’s history.
Posse recruits students from urban areas who show strong leadership potential and academic talent but might otherwise be overlooked by the traditional admissions process. Students are chosen on the basis of demonstrating the potential that they could one day become the nation’s leaders, administrators and CEOs.
Scholars receive 8 months of training before arriving on campus in “posses” of 10 students each. The intention is that the groups will support each other on their journey through college and beyond.
“Posse is really a leadership program that cares about diversity in a very deliberate way,” Bial said.
Looking ahead to the future of the organization, Bial said that she hopes to grow the number of partner institutions from today’s 51 to 100 by 2020.
Though that would mean doubling the number of partnerships in only a fraction of the time, Bial sees that as a more than tangible goal.
“The growth has been exponential in the past 10 years,” Bial said. In its early years, the Foundation was centralized to New York City, but by next year, will expand to its 10th urban location in the Bay Area.
“We want to recruit 1,000 kids a year, and support 4,000 kids enrolled on campus, so there would be 5,000 kids a year in our pipeline,” Bial said. “We’re a little more than halfway there.”
The demand for the program indicates that there is room for growth. “There were more than 15,000 high school seniors nominated for Posse scholarships this year across the country,” Bial said. “So the 700 who won the scholarships is an incredibly small percentage – [they’re] very special kids.”