Middlebury College Adds a Second Posse of Low-Income Students

Founded in 1989, the Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. Posse extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams — Posses — of 10 students. Posse partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships. A significant percentage of Posse Scholars are African Americans.

The Posse Foundation recruits high school students in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C. The foundation then places posses of 10 students at its 39 partner colleges and universities. Several partnership institutions admit two or more posses each year. Since 1989 more than 3,600 students have received scholarships from partner institutions valued at more than $400 million.

Since 1998 Middlebury College in Vermont has been admitting a posse of students from New York City high schools. The college is now adding a second posse of students from Chicago public schools.

Commenting on the contributions Posse Foundation students have made to Middlebury, college president Ron Liebowitz said, “Their energy, creativity, leadership, and the sharing of diverse experiences and talents have combined to truly enrich the life of the college.”

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  1. The Posse program is not specifically for low-income students, although the vast majority of the population it serves come from low-income backgrounds. Rather, Posse is a strength-based initiative that identifies nontraditional students with exceptional academic and leadership potential, regardless of race or socio-economic status.

  2. The Posse Foundation Leadership Scholarship is NOT a low-income but rather, merit based leadership award. I know this is late but the JBHE should be ashamed of itself for not properly checking the facts and tarnishing the great work that both the Posse Foundation and Middlebury College is achieving.

    • From the Posse Foundation’s website: “Deborah Bial proposed a model to identify promising students from disadvantaged urban backgrounds using an alternative set of qualities as predictors of success in college.” No one is claiming that the awards are not based on merit but the foundation states on its website that it “identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes.” Over the years, we have continually praised the work of the foundation for offering opportunities at our nation’s most selective colleges to students from diverse backgrounds.

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