Penn Becomes First Ivy to Partner With Posse Foundation

The University of Pennsylvania has become the first Ivy League school to partner with The Posse Foundation, which recruits and trains young people from urban high schools and sends them to top-tier colleges and universities as multicultural groups of 10 called "Posses."

Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation, made the announcement today in Miami that the Miami-Dade County Public Schools will become the seventh public school system participating with the Foundation. Posse Miami will begin recruitment next month and the first Miami Posse will enroll at Penn in September 2010

The Posses act as support systems for the students in the months prior to arriving at college and in the years to come. The students undergo rigorous preparation, arriving on campus prepared for academic work and student life and ready to engage in cross-cultural dialogue, according to the Foundation.

"We're thrilled to open in Miami with the University of Pennsylvania as our lead partner," Bial said. "With over 350,000 students and the second largest minority-serving school system in the country, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools is an ideal home for Posse’s newest program chapter."

"Our partnership with the Posse Foundation," Penn President Amy Gutmann said, "advances our goal of making Penn more accessible to exceptional students who otherwise could not afford an Ivy League education. More and more evidence indicates that excellence and diversity go hand in hand, and I am confident that Posse Miami scholars will contribute their talents, leadership and passion to make our great University ever better, just as Penn will transform their lives for the better."

Since its launch in 1989, The Posse Foundation, headquartered in New York City, has sent more than 2,650 students to college. These students have won more than $265 million in scholarships from the participating colleges and universities and graduate at a rate of 90 percent, well above the national average.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho called the Posse program "exactly the kind of initiative that is needed to help ensure that students who show promise and intelligence have access to a first-rate college education."

Support from The New World Foundation and the Novo Foundation, each of which issued a $250,000 challenge grant, allowed the Foundation to raise more than $500,000 in additional funding toward the opening of the new site.