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The Center for Institutional and Social Change at Columbia Law School identified the Rutgers Future Scholars program as a new and innovative approach to advancing the participation and success of low-income, minority students in higher education. Rutgers University established the Future Scholars program with the goal of ― reaching minority and low-income students who might otherwise never consider college within their grasp."1 Future Scholars targets promising middle school students from the urban communities surrounding its three main campuses of Newark, Camden, and New Brunswick/Piscataway. These communities face challenges of social marginalization and poverty. Despite their proximity to the Rutgers campuses, high school students from these cities are underrepresented in the University’s student body. The Future Scholars program selects 50 seventh graders from each community each year to ― become part of a unique pre-college culture of university programming, events, support, and mentoring that will continue through their high school years.‖2 Students who successfully complete the program and gain admission to Rutgers receive a scholarship covering the cost of their tuition for four years.

As of December 2009, the program was in its second year and so far has a ninth grade and an eighth grade cohort on each campus. Future Scholars is just completing its start-up phase, and as a result, many of the programming details — particularly the exact activities that will be offered as each cohort advances and new cohorts are added — are still under development. However, the key components in terms of participant selection, the overall structure of programming, and the powerful incentive of the scholarship are in place.


Higher Education | Law


Center for Institutional and Social Change