Bowdoin Partnerships Expand Educational Access

Building on a tradition of providing access to higher education, Bowdoin College has many longstanding and productive partnerships with community based organizations (CBOs) that strive to help high-potential, low-income high school students get into and graduate from college.

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Bowdoin has recently expanded this effort by with the addition of new partnerships with the Opportunity Network (OppNet), Say Yes to Education and the TalentED Project.

These CBOs and the others that previously have joined forces with the College invite these partnerships, recognizing that Bowdoin has both the financial aid resources and a track record of not only admitting good students, but graduating them.

“Many of these organizations work with students whose chance of college admission will be affected by their inability to pay,” says Scott Meiklejohn, Bowdoin’s Dean of Admissions and Student Aid.

“They understand that, in spite of what may be seen as a high ‘sticker price,’ Bowdoin should be a first choice college because of need-blind admission, full need financial aid and no loans.”

OppNet works to level the playing field for these students through a curriculum that combines college counseling with career exposure, professional etiquette and skills to build networks.

“I am happy to join Bowdoin College in opening the door to the life-changing experience of a college education,” said OppNet founder and CEO Jessica Pliska. “At the same time, the Bowdoin network will prosper with the addition of these exemplary students.”

Say Yes helps connect students with full-tuition scholarships and a variety of support and services — including tutoring, college application guidance, medical care, legal assistance and counseling.

“Say Yes puts a particular premium on academic and non-academic support services for its students, which seems consistent with the approach of Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster and his staff,” said Jacques Steinberg, the organization’s senior vice president for Higher Education.

“Through our organization, we look forward to introducing college admissions officers and others at Bowdoin to Say Yes Scholars in our partner communities, as well as to educating those Scholars and their families about the academic and other opportunities available to them at Bowdoin.”

The TalentED Project is another partner, whose mission is to increase college success by working to help high-potential, low-income and often first-generation students find the right fit with a college — one that will see them through to graduation.

“Bowdoin’s reputation for being one of the best liberal arts colleges and for providing the supports and financial aid necessary for lower-income, first-generation students to successfully complete their degree made it a natural choice,” Lori Feinsilver, head of community affairs for UBS Americas, which administers the program along with the Tennessee College Access & Success Network.

“An equally important motivation for the partnerships is that these CBOs know that Bowdoin can receive a diverse class and help all students find a path to success here,” said Meikeljohn, noting that Bowdoin’s retention and graduation rates are among the highest in the country.

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