Mission + History + Goals

The concept of a Posse works for both students and college campuses and is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students—a Posse—carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for increased individual and community development.


Posse started in 1989 because of one student who said, “I never would have dropped out of college if I had my posse with me.” The Posse Foundation identifies public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential who may be overlooked by traditional college selection processes. The Foundation extends to these students the opportunity to pursue personal and academic excellence by placing them in supportive, multicultural teams—Posses—of 10 students. The Foundation’s partner colleges and universities award Posse Scholars four-year, full‑tuition leadership scholarships.


Vanderbilt University was Posse’s first partner institution and took a Posse of five students from New York City in 1989. Four years after setting foot on Vanderbilt’s campus, all five members of Vanderbilt Posse 1 graduated with honors and accolades.

Since then, Posse has sent 5,544 Scholars to top-tier colleges and universities throughout the country. Nationally, Posse Scholars have won $687 million in scholarships from Posse’s partner institutions and are persisting and graduating at a rate of 90 percent—significantly above the national average.

Three Goals

  1. To expand the pool from which top colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds.
  2. To help these institutions build more interactive campus environments so that they can be more welcoming for people from all backgrounds.
  3. To ensure that Posse Scholars persist in their academic studies and graduate so they can take on leadership positions in the workforce.