The Great Minds Scholars program is a WPI initiative designed to meet the full demonstrated financial need, up to the cost of tuition and fees, of selected Pell-eligible students enrolled in the Worcester Public Schools who are interested in attending WPI.

WPI believes strongly in facilitating access to its educational offerings and in fostering a diverse and inclusive community. The Great Minds Scholars program is designed to accomplish these goals by reducing barriers for students from low-income backgrounds to receive an education at one of the nation’s premier technological universities.

Why was the Great Minds Scholars Program Created?

Under the Federal Pell Grant Program, eligible students with significant financial need can defray the cost of post-secondary education through federal grants.

Introduced in the 1970s, Pell grants once covered roughly 75 percent of the costs of attending a public four-year college or university, giving a significant boost to students from low-income households in their quest to obtain a college degree. That figure has dropped to around 30 percent today.

Even with need- and merit-based awards from universities added on top of Pell grants, Pell-eligible students are often left with a gap between the cost of attendance and available aid.

The Great Minds Scholars also support WPI’s commitment to the American Talent Initiative. The initiative, made up of a consortium of institutions, focuses on increasing educational opportunity for talented low-income students by graduating an additional 50,000 qualified students in the top 270 U.S. colleges and universities by 2025.

How the Great Minds Scholars Program Works

The Great Minds Scholarship is a secondary scholarship that meets the student’s full demonstrated financial need for tuition and fees, regardless of status as a resident or commuter, once all other merit- and need-based scholarships are assessed. The program also includes a $2,000 allowance for on-campus housing if they choose to live on campus.  

A total of up to 10 scholarships will be awarded to incoming first year students per year by WPI’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The scholarships are renewable for four years, provided the student maintains satisfactory academic progress and meets all other terms in the Award Conditions and Notes.

All merit-based scholarships at WPI, including the Great Minds Scholarship, are evaluated based on academic performance in high school, recommendations, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and community service.

Eligibility for the Great Minds Scholars Program

In order to be eligible for the Great Minds Scholarship, students must:

  • Be Pell-eligible seniors attending a Worcester Public High School, applying as first-year candidates
    • Claremont Academy
    • Burncoat High School
    • Doherty Memorial High School
    • North High School
    • South High Community School
    • University Park Campus School
    • Worcester Technical High School
  • Apply to WPI as a first-year student through the Common Application no later than Feb. 1, the regular decision deadline. (See all application deadlines.)
    • Students can choose whether to apply for Early Action 1, Early Action 2, or Regular Decision.
    • There is no separate Admissions application required beyond the Common Application.
  • Fill out the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE (Profile) financial aid forms by Feb. 1. (Learn more about financial aid forms.)

A CSS PROFILE waiver is available for all WPS applicants. To receive one, please contact WPI with proof of the student's WPS status. Contact information is at the end of this page.

Selection Process for the Great Minds Scholars Program

Once the admissions process is completed, the Admissions Office will review all eligible accepted students for the Great Minds Scholarship.

Recipients selected for this scholarship program will be known as Great Minds Scholars, and will be notified no later than April 1 by email. Great Minds Scholars must make their enrollment decision by May 1 to retain the award.

Enrolling at another institution or formally declining WPI’s offer of admission will, as with any other scholarship, void the offer of the award. Great Minds Scholars interested in deferring their enrollment should read the deferral terms

Contact Information

For more information on the Great Minds Scholars program, please contact the Director of Admissions, Jennifer Cluett at jcluett@wpi.edu or (508) 831-5286.