College Board Announces Major Expansion in Access to Scholarships for the Millions of Students Who Take the PSAT/NMSQT®
Earlier access to $180 million in scholarships provides college-going opportunities to more students; Information from the Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) will be used to identify and target more low-income and minority students who are eligible for scholarships
NEW YORK – Through new partnerships with five of the country’s leading scholarship providers, the College Board will expand access to scholarship opportunities earlier in high school to change students’ trajectories and help inform their decisions about pursuing college. The American Indian Graduate Center and American Indian Graduate Center Scholars (AIGC and AIGCS), Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), Jack Kent Cooke Foundation (JKCF), and the United Negro College
Fund (UNCF) will use information from the PSAT/NMSQT® to expand access to nearly $180 million in existing scholarship dollars to low-income and minority students.
The PSAT/NMSQT information will allow AIGC and AIGCS, APIASF, HSF, the JKCF, and UNCF to reach a better representation of high school students across the country who may not have otherwise been aware they were eligible for scholarship opportunities. Outreach will begin with students from the class of 2015 who have taken the PSAT/NMSQT during high school and opted in to receive materials from scholarship providers.
The PSAT/NMSQT is the nation’s largest and most representative precollege assessment. In October 2014, a record 3.8 million students took the exam. As a result of the College Board’s ongoing efforts to expand access to the PSAT/NMSQT to a broader group of students, 77 percent (897,567) of minority students who graduated from public high schools in 2014 took the PSAT/NMSQT at least once.
The announcement reinforces the College Board’s commitment to making assessments a platform for delivering opportunity. These new partnerships, combined with the College Board’s long-standing partnership with National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), create a portfolio of opportunities that reach every major segment of students. The scholarships will now range from programs focused purely on academic merit, to those available to students who meet specific financial, racial, ethnic, and other eligibility requirements.
“What this country needs is not more tests but more opportunities,” said David Coleman, president and CEO of the College Board. “The 3.8 million students who already take the PSAT/NMSQT will now gain access to nearly $180 million more in scholarships, early enough in their high school careers to change their futures. These partnerships complement our work with National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and further remove barriers to college and career success for students across the country.”
Last year, the College Board launched a redesign of the PSAT/NMSQT. Like the redesigned SAT, the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT will be focused on the skills and knowledge evidence shows is necessary for success in college and career. The first administration of the exam will take place in October 2015. In addition to scholarship opportunities, additional benefits of the current and redesigned PSAT/NMSQT include:
- Practice for the SAT;
- A mid-high school check on whether a student is on target for college and career readiness;
- Detailed performance feedback and suggestions for how students can improve their readiness for college and career, including free, personalized SAT practice through Khan Academy;
- Access to challenging course work by identifying students’ potential to succeed in Advanced Placement courses; and
- Access to free college and career planning resources such as Student Search Service®, My College QuickStart™, and BigFuture™.
Statements from the New Partners
P. “Sam” Deloria, Director, AIGC: “Since our founding, AIGC and AIGCS have been driven by a commitment to expand the number of American Indians who earn professional degrees. We recognize how critical financial support is to ensuring students can pursue postsecondary opportunities, and working with the College Board allows us to reach a broader group of American Indian students who can take advantage of the scholarships we offer.”
Neil Horikoshi, President and Executive Director, APIASF: “Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students are often left out of the conversation when it comes to intervention for college access and success. We are thankful for partners like the College Board, who recognize the need and are helping us inform AAPI students about resources they have to pursue a college education.”
Fidel A. Vargas, President and CEO, HSF: “Our goal is to provide students all the tools they need to apply to college, do well in their course work, graduate, enter a profession, excel, help lead our nation going forward, and mentor the generations to come. Working with the College Board is yet another way we will be able to further our goals and help Latino students make successful transitions to college.”
Harold O. Levy, Executive Director, JKCF: “The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awards annual scholarships of up to $40,000 to high-performing students with financial need. By partnering with the College Board, we are able to engage a broader universe of high-achieving, low-income students that have the ability to excel when given the resources to develop their talents.”
Michael L. Lomax, President and CEO, UNCF: “For 70 years, UNCF has worked to help students get to and through college. Partnering with the College Board will allow us to further expand our reach to African American students across the country who will benefit from being able to access the scholarships and resources we are prepared to provide.”
More information about the PSAT/NMSQT is available here. Details about the scholarship opportunities offered by each organization are available online at: AIGC and AIGCS, APIASF, HSF, JKCF, and UNCF.
AIGC and AIGCS
L. Stephine Poston
703-723-8000 ext. 252