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 receive federal grants to help pay for the cost of college.
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 trying obtain a college degree. That figure has dropped to around 30 percent today.
Even when you combine the Pell Grant with need- and merit-based awards from universities, students are often left with a gap between the cost of attendance and available aid. This Great Minds Scholars Program is designed to cover the cost of attendance, up to tuition and fees.
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 once all other merit- and need-based scholarships are assessed. The program also includes an additional $12,000 Great Minds Housing Allowance.
A total of up to 5 scholarships are awarded every year to incoming first-year students. 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. Eligible high schools include:
- 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. 15, the regular decision deadline. (See all application deadlines.)
- Students can choose whether to apply for Early Decision 1, Early Action 1, Early Decision 2, Early Action 2, or Regular Decision.
- There is no separate application for the Great Minds Scholars Program required.
- Fill out the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE (Profile) financial aid forms by Feb. 15. (Learn more about financial aid forms.)
Selection Process for the Great Minds Scholars Program
After WPI Admissions completes reviewing all applicants, eligible accepted students will then be reviewed for the Great Minds Scholarship.
Students selected for this program will be known as Great Minds Scholars, and will be notified no later than mid-April 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.