Posse started in 1989. Its first partner institution was Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Deborah Bial, Posse’s founder and president, is a 2007 MacArthur Fellow.
To date, the Posse Foundation has recruited 5,574 Posse Scholars who have won $688 million in scholarship dollars.
The Posse Foundation partners with 51 partner colleges and universities in 21 states and the District of Columbia.
The Posse Foundation is a national initiative with chapters in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City and Washington, D.C.
Posse works with 2,200 Scholars in the Campus Program. As of May 2014, there are more than 2,600 Posse alumni.
In 2013, Posse received over 15,000 nominations for 670 scholarship slots.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Is Posse?
How Did Posse Get Its Name?
Does Posse Work?
How Can My College/University or Company Become a Partner?
Who Is In a Posse?
Who Are Posse Scholars?
How Does Posse Define Leadership?
How Does Posse Define Diversity?
How Many People Are In a Posse?
Who Pays for The Posse Foundation’s Operating Costs?
Why Are You Raising Money?
Applying to Posse
What Are You Looking For?
Who Is Eligible for a Posse Scholarship?
How Do You Pick a Posse?
Do You Only Recruit Students from Public High Schools?
Where is Posse Offering Scholarships?
Who Pays for the Scholarship?
Is Posse an Early Decision Process?
What Are the Rules for Applying Under the Early Decision Option?
What Colleges and Universities Do You Work With?
What Is DAP?
Do Students Apply Directly to One Partner Institution or to All of Them?
How Do I Nominate Students?
What Happens at the Large Recruitment Meeting?
After I Have Been Nominated, What Happens Next?
Does Posse Have SAT/ACT/GPA Requirements?
Do I Need to Keep a Minimum GPA to Keep the Scholarship?
What Are the Requirements Once I Get the Scholarship?
How Do You Choose Which Partner College Each Student Will Be Considered For?
Can I Take a Posse Scholarship I’ve Won and Use It for a College That Is Not an Official Posse Partner Institution or a Posse Partner Institution that I Didn’t I Apply To?
Can Community-Based Organizations Nominate Students? If So, How?
I Am a Parent/Guardian, How Can I Nominate My Student or Child?
What Does the Scholarship Cover?
What Are Other Benefits I Get from Getting a Posse Scholarship?
Will Posse Get Me a Job?
Does the Scholarship Cover the Cost of Studying Abroad?
Since the Scholarship Is Awarded in the Middle of a Student’s Senior Year of High School, Does the Student Need to Graduate High School in Good Standing?
Are Posse Scholars Eligible to Receive Other Scholarships?
Can a Posse Scholar Combine Their Merit-Based Leadership Scholarship with Other Scholarships to Pay Room and Board and Other Colleges Expenses?
Is There a Posse Scholarship for Graduate School?
What Is Posse? Posse is a college access and youth leadership development program that identifies, recruits and selects student leaders from public high schools and sends them in groups called Posses to some of the top colleges and universities in the country. A Posse is a multicultural team made up of 10 students. It acts as a support system to ensure that each Posse Scholar succeeds and graduates from college. Posse Scholars receive four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse partner colleges and universities.
How Did Posse Get Its Name? In 1989, Posse Founder and President Deborah Bial was working with talented urban young people. She watched these students go off to college, only to see them return within a semester having dropped out. Knowing that these students were bright and capable, she couldn’t understand what was making them leave college. When she asked them what happened, one student replied, “If I only had my posse with me, I never would have dropped out.” That simple idea, of sending a group—or posse—of students together so they could “back each other up,” became the impetus for a program that today has sent hundreds of students to top colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Why Posse? The Posse Foundation has 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 become more welcoming institutions for students from all backgrounds; 3) to ensure that Posse Scholars persist in their academic studies and graduate so that they can take on leadership positions in the workforce.
Does Posse Work? Since 1989, Posse has recruited and trained 4,884 students who have won $577 million in leadership scholarships from Posse partner colleges and universities. More than 70 percent of Scholars have either founded or become leaders of campus organizations. Scholars act as change agents on campus, significantly contributing to the influence and longevity of student organizations. Most important, Posse Scholars persist and graduate at a rate of 90 percent. Posses help the retention of non-Posse students who are not part of the majority culture by fostering an inclusive campus community.
Who Is In a Posse? A Posse is a multicultural team made up of 10 student leaders who attend college together. Posse Scholars are from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C.
Who Are Posse Scholars? Posse Scholars are leaders. They are actively involved on campus and are beginning to make change in the workforce as alumni. Ask anyone to describe a Posse Scholar, and you get a surplus of adjectives: motivated, creative, intelligent, dynamic, highly involved, persistent, determined, strong grades, top of the class, strong writer, positive, enthusiastic, optimistic, funny, magnetic, articulate, the list goes on. Posse Scholars are extraordinary.
How Does Posse Define Leadership? Posse’s definition of leadership includes not only traditional types of leadership, like being school president or being at the top of your class; Posse recognizes nontraditional leadership, like working to help support the family, or taking care or your brothers and sisters every day after school. Posse Scholars work for Habitat for Humanity, are members of the National Honor Society for Black Engineers, sing in their college gospel choirs and tutor their peers. When Posse Scholars graduate they take on leadership positions in the workforce.
How Does Posse Define Diversity? Posse’s definition of diversity is not just about cultural, ethnic or racial diversity, it includes economic, academic, religious, political and geographic diversity. It encompasses all ways that people are different from each other, and all the different ways they can learn from each other.
How Many People Are In a Posse? Ten Scholars traditionally make up a Posse. These 10 Scholars are then sent to the college or university where they were chosen to attend.
Who Pays for The Posse Foundation’s Operating Costs? The Posse Program is supported by generous contributions from corporate and philanthropic organizations and individual donors.
Why Are You Raising Money? All monies raised by Posse are used to pay for the operating costs of the Foundation. The scholarships are provided by Posse’s college and university partners.
Applying to Posse
What Are You Looking For? Posse is looking for individuals who have demonstrated leadership ability, communication and team building skills. High school grade point average and SAT scores are considered but are not solely the basis for selection. Posse looks for students who have done well academically, but who may not be considering (or might be missed by) some of the top universities (which often rely more heavily upon traditional admissions measures such as SAT scores). Winners of the Posse Scholarship have been positive contributors to their schools and communities. They are the kinds of students who change the climate for the better. They are interested in issues of community and diversity. They are mature team-players who are able to not only take care of themselves, but also to look out for their peers. Remember, Posse welcomes nontraditional candidates—those who may not have considered, or may have been overlooked by top colleges. We are looking for the students who have the perseverance and drive to make it in a highly competitive academic environment if given the support of a positive team of peers, a Posse.
Who Is Eligible for a Posse Scholarship? Public high school seniors who live in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C. are eligible to apply.
How Do You Pick a Posse? Posse uses the unique Dynamic Assessment Process, which recognizes talented students who may otherwise be missed by traditional academic identifiers.
Do You Only Recruit Students from Public High Schools? While the majority of the students are recruited from public high schools, students from parochial schools as well as private schools have been nominated before.
Where Is Posse Offering Scholarships? Posse is recruiting from public high schools and community-based organizations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and Washington, D.C.
Who Pays for the Scholarship? Each Posse Scholar receives a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship provided by our college and university partners.
Is Posse an Early Decision Process? Yes. Students who are chosen to become Posse Scholars find out in late December, which means that they have committed to attend a partner college or university for the following fall semester.
What Are the Rules for Applying Under the Early Decision Option? Once a student has elected the early decision option, they must commit to attending that school, and they must withdraw their applications from other colleges/universities.
What Colleges and Universities Do You Work With? You can view our current partner college and university list here
What Is DAP? The Dynamic Assessment Process (DAP) recognizes talents students who may otherwise be missed by traditional academic identifiers, adds to the measures used by colleges and universities to recruit students, and broadens the pool of candidates from which top colleges and universities can choose successful students.
Do Students Apply Directly to One Partner Institution or to All of Them? If a student makes it to the semi-finalist round, she will designate three of her Posse home city’s partner institutions as her first, second and third choice school. If she then makes it to the subsequent round, the finalist round, Posse will attempt to match her with her first choice, and if she agrees to become a finalist, she is in effect applying early decision to that school.
How Do I Nominate Students? Application and nomination for Posse Scholarships begin in August. Contact your local Posse office locations.
What Happens at the Large Recruitment Meeting? There will be between 80–100 nominated seniors from throughout the area at each meeting. Posse Staff will first give an overview of the Posse Program and the site’s college and university partners. They will then lead the students in a series of interactive workshops where students will work in small groups designing projects and discussing contemporary issues.
After I Have Been Nominated, What Happens Next? All nominated students will be asked to attend a large group recruitment meeting. After the large group interview about half will be called back as semi-finalists. Each semi-finalist will come to the Posse office to be interviewed individually by Posse staff. Between 20 and 25 of these students will be chosen as finalists for each partner school. Finalists must agree to accept the Posse Scholarship if it is offered to them. This is a serious commitment. Finalists will each fill out an application to their Posse college or university. In mid-December they will participate in a group interview with all other finalists for their particular school. An admission committee from the college, including the dean of admission, will attend this meeting. Finalists will be notified if they are Posse Scholarship winners in late December and begin Posse’s eight-month pre-collegiate training program in January.
Does Posse Have SAT/ACT/GPA Requirements? Posse has no cut offs as far as GPAs and SATs/ACTs. Posse does look for students who demonstrate high academic potential and have the desire to perform well in top ranked academic environments.
Do I Need to Keep a Minimum GPA to Keep the Scholarship? There is not minimum GPA needed to be maintained by a Posse Scholar, but the Scholar should keep in mind that schoolwork should be well maintained and still looked upon with a high regard.
What Are the Requirements Once I Get the Scholarship? Once a Scholar receives a Posse Scholarship they will commit to an eight-month Pre-Collegiate Training Program designed to build Posses and requires the students to attend weekly meetings for two hours. The eight-month series of workshops have been developed to train carefully selected young students, Posse Scholars, to be successful college students and strong leaders. The training program endeavors to create powerful teams which should be able to work together as a support system, succeed academically and socially in college, and be agents of change.
How Do You Choose Which Partner College Each Student Will Be Considered For? At the first recruitment meeting, called the Large Group Interview, the Posse staff members will describe to the applicants the college and university partners connected to that city. Upon leaving that meeting, each student will receive brochures for each college. They will be told to review the materials so that if they are called back for a semi-finalist interview, they will be able to tell us their preference at that time. If the student is selected as a finalist, s/he will be slotted for one of the three schools based on her/his preferences.
Can I Take a Posse Scholarship I’ve Won And Use It For a College that Is Not an Official Posse Partner Institution or a Posse Partner Institution that I Didn’t Apply To? If you win a Posse Scholarship with X college, you are committed to attending X college. You can’t take the Posse Scholarship and apply it to Y college (if Y is not an official Posse partner institution) or even apply it to a school that IS an official partner, but was not the school for which you won the Scholarship.
Can Community-Based Organizations Nominate Students? If So, How? Yes. If a community-based organization works with high school seniors, they can contact Posse to become a nominator.
I Am a Parent/Guardian, How Can I Nominate My Student or Child? A parent cannot directly nominate a student, but instead, the parent can have their student nominate themselves. The student would then call the Posse office and give his or her name and information.
What Does the Scholarship Cover? The Posse Scholarship is a full-tuition, four-year scholarship worth over $100,000. The scholarship does not cover room and board. The majority of Posse Scholars apply for financial aid to cover these costs. They will be awarded additional funding (grants, loans, work-study, etc.) as needed.
What Are Other Benefits I Get from Getting a Posse Scholarship? Posse Scholars benefit from having a support network that will stay with them well beyond the four years of college.
Will Posse Get Me a Job? One of Posse’s resources is the Career Program, which provides Scholars with the tools and opportunities needed to secure the most competitive and career enhancing jobs and internships. Through the Career Program, Posse Scholars receive career counseling services which offers career planning guidance, resume development, mock interviews and assistance with networking and job searching. Scholars are also able to take advantage of opportunities with Posse’s Career partners.
Does the Scholarship Cover the Cost of Studying Abroad? The scholarship covers four years of full tuition. If a Posse Scholar studies abroad, the partner school will determine if the scholarship funds are transferable.
Since the Scholarship Is Awarded in the Middle of a Student’s Senior Year of High School, Does the Student Need To Graduate High School In Good Standing? The student should maintain good standing for the remainder of high school.
Are Posse Scholars Eligible To Receive Other Scholarships? Posse Scholars are encouraged to apply for other types of aid while at college.
Can a Posse Scholar Combine Their Merit-Based Leadership Scholarship with Other Scholarships To Pay Room and Board and Other Colleges Expenses? The Posse scholarship covers four years of full tuition. It does not cover room, board, travel or books. Each family will be expected to apply for financial aid to cover up to an estimated $10,000 a year beyond tuition.
Is There A Posse Scholarship For Graduate School? Posse is beginning to develop graduate school partnerships. Currently, Posse alumni are eligible to apply for scholarships and fellowships at Posse’s graduate partner institutions.
How Can I Work for Posse? Posse will sometimes list career opportunities on this website and traditional job banks and job posting repositories.
How Can I Volunteer? You can volunteer for Posse in a multitude of ways. Visit our volunteer page for more information.
Latest NewsWinter 2013
The Posse Foundation's Graduate School + Fellowships Program supports Scholars and alumni who are pursuing advanced degrees or competitive fellowship opportunities. Ten prestigious graduate school programs partner with Posse to offer scholarships.Winter 2013
Posse has enhanced its online system, The Posse Portal, to better serve Scholars and alumni as they maintain and build connections within the broad and resourceful alumni network.Winter 2013
The Posse National Alumni Advisory Council (PNAAC) was established in 2008 to cultivate relationships among alumni through local and national events that promote networking and collaboration. Fourteen alumni currently serve on PNAAC as well as the Posse advisory boards in their respective cities.Fall 2013
In August, 180 Posse alumni attended the fifth annual National Posse Alumni Leadership Conference in New York City. The day-long conference included a presentation by Posse President and Founder Deborah Bial, a keynote address by Demos Distinguished Fellow and author Bob Herbert, as well as presentations by more than 30 guest speakers.Fall 2013
Nadia Marie Sasso, a graduate of Bucknell University, is the 2013 recipient of the Ainslie Alumni Achievement Award. During the annual National Posse Alumni Leadership Conference held in New York City this past August, Nadia was honored for her commitment to social responsibility and her ability to inspire others.Summer 2013
When Brentt Baltimore graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2010, he had a coveted analyst position at Credit Suisse in Los Angeles, California. But, after two years of long hours, he wondered what else he might accomplish with his degree in finance and economics.Spring 2013
Angelica Towne graduated from Middlebury College five years ago determined to use her education to empower youth in developing countries around the world. Today, the international studies major is the co-founder and country director of Educate!, a national youth leadership development organization that works with thousands of students and young entrepreneurs in Uganda.