sunset at Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA)


Grinnell is committed to access and affordability.

In order to ensure that intellectually curious and motivated students have the opportunity to attend Grinnell, we work with many community-based organizations. These partnerships help expand the pool of talented students who have access to a Grinnell education and create the diverse community we foster.


Arkansas Commitment Logo

The Arkansas Commitment organization is an organization that identifies and assists academically talented African-American students throughout central Arkansas. They offer a variety of assistance programs throughout the student’s academic careers, starting from their freshman year of high-school. They offer monthly college counseling and test prep sessions, financial aid and planning sessions, and opportunities to help students stand out in the college admission process. The organization is located in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Chicago Scholars logo

Chicago Scholars supports first-generation and low-income students from every community area and more than 100 different Chicago high schools in navigating the complex transitions into college, throughout college, and at the start of a career. Over the course of seven years and through continued alumni programming, Chicago Scholars empowers students with the mentorship, guidance, and resources to go to their top-choice colleges; thrive on campus; graduate; and become Chicago’s next generation of leaders. Close to 200 colleges, including Grinnell, hold official partnerships with Chicago Scholars. To date, Chicago Scholars has served more than 4,000 young people in Chicago.

College Bound Opportunities Logo

College Bound Opportunities (CBO) mentors, empowers and inspires low-income, first-generation scholars to overcome barriers, graduate college and achieve success in life. CBO begins working with its Scholars their junior year of high school continuing until they graduate from college. Prior to starting college, CBO Scholars are a part of the College Access program, which provides access to standardized testing prep courses, tutoring, campus visits, application assistance, and many other useful opportunities including pairing them with a mentor for their entire college journey. Once Scholars begin college, they become a part of the College Persistence and Career Prep programs which links them with resources, both on and off campus, and awards up to $16,000 in financial assistance. CBO partners with about 100 colleges throughout the country and has offices in each of its partner high schools and a Student Center in Highland Park, Ill.

Cristo Rey Logo

The Cristo Rey Network of 37 high schools delivers a career focused, college preparatory education in the Catholic tradition for students with limited economic resources, uniquely integrating rigorous academic curricula with four years of professional work experience and support to and through college. Cristo Rey partners with educators, businesses and communities to enable students to fulfill their aspirations for a lifetime of success: students are three times more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree by age 24, compared to the total U.S. low-income population. Learn more.

Emerge Logo

EMERGE is a nationally recognized program that helps low-income and first-generation high school students attend and graduate from the nation’s top universities, such as Grinnell, Harvard, Rice, and Yale. This program offers students in Houston area school districts after-school programming, SAT preparation, out-of-state college tours, college application advising, and support from alumni. EMERGE connects students with a counselor who can provide support with applications, and it offers support to students throughout the college application process.

The HALI Access Network is an association of nonprofit organizations in Africa that work with high-achieving, low-income (HALI) students to access international higher education opportunities. They strive to level the playing field in international education to increase inclusion, access, and scholarship support for remarkable students who only lack finances to make their educational dreams come true. They believe in the power of education to change communities and in the impact their students have on college and university campuses. By building a coalition of university access organizations from across the African continent, HALI helps empower the next generation of community-builders through their higher education journeys.

i'm first logo

I’m First! is an initiative by Strive For College and is an organization dedicated to assisting first-generation students with inspiration, information, and support them to and throughout college. They offer programs that help their users link with colleges that offer special programs which specifically support first-generation students. Additionally, they offer users access to a mentor that can answer questions about college and also provide guidance throughout the admission process. Their office is located in Milpitas, California, but they represent students from varying cities across the country.

Opportunity Network logo

The Opportunity Network (OppNet) ignites the drive, curiosity, and agency of students from historically and systematically underrepresented communities to connect them to college access and success, internships, career opportunities, and personal and professional networks.The OppNet Fellows Program is an intensive six-year experience for students beginning the summer after 10th grade that cultivates their passions and skills to persist through college and launch the careers of their choice upon graduation. OppNet’s Fellows program integrates individualized college guidance, robust networking opportunities for professional and personal growth, multi- industry career exposure, experiential learning for college success, and five summers of skill-building paid internships and enrichment programs.

Questbridge logo

QuestBridge is a nonprofit organization that connects low-income and first-generation high school seniors to leading colleges and universities across the nation. They want to show low-income students that they are able to apply to prestigious schools without cost being a main concern. They have programs for high school juniors and seniors and they provide support throughout the application process. The College Prep Scholar program is an application for high school juniors which provides opportunities, such as a national conference at a QuestBridge school and smaller scholarships. The National College Match process is for college seniors and it is an application process which allows students to rank up to 12 schools and apply to each school in order to obtain a full scholarship, or a very generous scholarship. This is a national organization that connects with students across the U.S. and they partner with 43 colleges and universities in the U.S. QuestBridge and Grinnell College have been partners since 2010. For more information, visit our QuestBridge page.

yes prep public schools logo

YES Prep is a system of high-performing public charter schools in underserved communities. The core mission of YES Prep is to increase the number of students attending college from communities in the Houston, Texas, area. The YES Prep IMPACT Program partners with colleges and universities that commit to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of selected students. The program was established in 2006 and has established over 30 partners and affiliates so far—with Grinnell being the first.

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