The Posse Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to improve the academic opportunities of emerging leaders. It was stated in 1989 but Deborah Bial, a former MacArthur Fellow. The program fosters the development of leadership skills among youth. To accomplish their mission, the Posse program chooses outstanding high school students who have the potential to become great leaders and who excel academically. These students come from urban or untraditional backgrounds and are identified as students who have the potential to go to college if they receive extra support. As a result, teams (or posses) of about 10 students are formed. The program collaborates with certain institutions of higher education to offer full ride scholarships, called Posse Scholars Awards. Currently, there are 55 institutions that partner with the foundation.
Each year high schools or other organizations can nominate students based on their leadership and academic potential. Currently, juniors and seniors from one of the following states are eligible to be nominated: GA, CA, MA, IL, TX, FL, LA, or NY. Students who reside in the District of Columbia are also eligible. Winners are grouped into a diverse team of 10 students in order to maximize diversity. All Posse winners who are selected receive funding to attend one of the eligible partner universities or colleges. A full list of eligible institutions can be found here:
The list includes schools that are large and small, public and private, and schools from various geographic locals. Some top schools, including the University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt University, and Dartmouth University, all have partnered with the Posse Scholarship. The scholarship covers tuition for four years of college.
Posse Scholars work to make positive improvements to their college campus. This may include contributing to administrative conversations of diversity of SES issues, participating in or holding a leadership role in student organizations on campus, increase the diversity on their college campus, and bring a unique view to classroom discussions.
In addition to undergraduate programs, some scholarships are awarded at the graduate level. While there are fewer partner schools at the graduate level, the partners are among the most well known university and include: Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and Yale University. These schools provide fellowships or other types of financial aid to students who have graduated from the Posse program.
In order to be eligible to be nominated, students must be in their last year of high school, demonstrate leadership, and show strong academic promise. The award is open to students from all backgrounds. Students must be nominated by someone at their high school or community organization. The process to become a nominator is simple; an e-mail must be sent with the nominator’s name, institution name, mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. Students and nominators can read more about the application process online. Additionally, information on Posse alumni can be found at the following website: https://www.possefoundation.org/our-alumni.