CWRU students walking across the quad

New partnership with The Posse Foundation seeks to increase college access

CWRU, Posse Foundation to recruit and select 10 students to receive full tuition to join the Class of 2021

Case Western Reserve announced today that it has partnered with The Posse Foundation, a nationally renowned organization dedicated to increasing college access for promising urban students from diverse backgrounds.

Under the arrangement, the university will work with the foundation to recruit and select 10 students from New Orleans who will receive full-tuition scholarships to enroll as part of Case Western Reserve’s Class of 2021.

“We are honored to collaborate with The Posse Foundation,” Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder said. “Its unique approach to identifying and supporting young people with strong academic and leadership potential has led them to extraordinary success for more than two decades. We look forward to welcoming our first Posse students in August of 2017.”

Founded in 1989, the nonprofit organization has assisted nearly 7,000 young people in becoming Posse Scholars and receiving more than $900 million in scholarships. Cornell, Dartmouth, Northwestern and the University of Southern California are among the nearly 60 colleges and universities with Posse programs for undergraduates today; overall, these young people graduate at a rate of 90 percent. A key aspect of the program is that institutions annually enroll groups of 10 from a single city, so that the scholars have a core group of peer support on campus from the moment they arrive.

“We are thrilled to welcome Case Western Reserve University into the Posse family,” Posse Founder and President Deborah Bial said. “This excellent institution, one that cares about diversity, culture and inclusion, will be a great new home for the Posse Scholars from New Orleans. We are grateful to President Snyder for her leadership and look forward to working with the Case Western Reserve community.”

Case Western Reserve long has wanted to partner with the foundation, and felt able to move forward this year after transitioning its financial aid practices to meet the full demonstrated need of admitted students. After nearly 18 months of discussion and review, the university earlier this year adopted a meet-full-need approach starting with the undergraduate class that enters in August 2017.

In addition to New Orleans, Posse has chapters in nine cities—among them Atlanta, Boston, New York and Houston. Under the foundation’s model, Posse works with local schools and organizations to identify as many as 100 potential scholars, and then uses what it calls a Dynamic Assessment Process to learn more about the students’ motivation, leadership skills, ability to work in teams and so forth. Representatives of Case Western Reserve are present for parts of the process, and make final admissions decisions in December.

From January through August, each accepted group of students meet weekly with foundation staff for workshops designed to help them succeed in as students, leaders and members of the campus community. Once students arrive, they meet regularly in groups and individually with on-campus mentors for their first two years; Posse staff also visit during the course of the academic year.

Enhancing the diversity of incoming undergraduate classes has been a priority for Vice President for Enrollment Management Rick Bischoff since he arrived in 2009. The university has significantly grown its enrollments of students from abroad and from states across the country, and also has made some progress in increasing the presence of underrepresented students.

“We are pleased by the gains we have made, but know we have much more work to do,” Bischoff said. “This new partnership with Posse represents an important step toward helping us achieve more of our goals for diversity and inclusion on campus.”