University joins

Low-income high school students earn "micro-scholarships" for grades, service

Washington University in St. Louis has joined, an innovative program that rewards low-income high school students for good grades, extracurricular activities and community service with scholarship dollars — up to $10,000 a year. The partnership is the latest in a series of initiatives that aim  to make a Washington University education more accessible to students of limited financial means or who will be the first in their families to attend college.

“ helps Washington University achieve one of its most important priorities — to expand opportunities for talented first-generation and low-income students,” said Ronné P. Turner, vice provost for admissions and financial aid. “We are excited to provide a tool that both motivates students to work hard and educates them about the college application process.”

Prospective students may start earning a number of “micro-scholarships” as early as ninth grade. Examples include:

  • $750 for every A in a core or fine arts class
  • $750 for placing in a Model UN or First Robotics competition
  • $300 for serving as a leader of an extracurricular activity
  • $8 for every hour of community service, up to $800

“Rather than applying for a scholarship competition where your application is one of thousands, this program rewards students for their daily achievements,” Turner explained. “It’s real and tangible.”

Some 200 universities, including peer institutions such as Notre Dame and Carnegie Mellon, have joined since its launch in 2014. The service is free to students.

Other new scholarship opportunities to support low-income prospective students include:

Provost Holden Thorp said the scholarship initiatives are part of Washington University’s comprehensive plan to make the university a better place for low-income and first-generation students.

“Programs like, coupled with the work of the new Office of Student Success, will make sure every student will have a high-quality, engaging, full and fulfilling undergraduate experience,” Thorp said.

Eligible students can learn more about and sign up here.

Visit The Pipeline to read more about Washington University’s work to support K-12 students.

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