The Posse Foundation has announced a five year scholarship incentive that will educate 500 low or moderate income students in STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and math. The scholarships will be for attendance at 10 leading American colleges, including Franklin & Marshall College (F&M). The scholarship incentive is part of the White House’s summit on college opportunity.
Powered by $70 million of investment from the colleges and the Posse Foundation, this project should be cause for celebration across the country, but especially in the cities from which the scholars will be drawn like Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Boston and New York.
Future generations may well recognize this project as an important turning point in American higher education. Why do I say this?
Today, America’s global leadership is threatened because too few U.S. high-school students achieve at high levels in math and science and pursue STEM degrees or careers — especially lower-income women and minorities, who overwhelmingly represent the future demographic growth of the country. We need to reverse that trend if we are to pursue vital national priorities such as strengthening public health, energy independence, environmental sustainability, biomedical innovation, national security, public education, and local job creation.
Second, it works. Posse sends a strong opportunity message to public school students and attracts a deep pool of talent. The program provides students with leadership development in high school, a pre-college STEM boot camp, faculty mentors, and the cohesive support of a group of similarly driven peers. Most importantly, the results Posse is getting debunk the myth that low-income students can’t succeed in college.
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