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Penn's latest effort to reach out to high-achieving students in need of economic assistance is already showing signs of success.

This year, 26 students will receive full, four-year scholarships to Penn because of the University's new partnership with QuestBridge - a program that links low-income students with grants at top colleges.

The selected students, called National College Match Scholars, were among the 616 who passed a QuestBridge preliminary evaluation and indicated Penn as one of their top eight college choices, according to Dean of Admissions Eric Furda.

QuestBridge participants fill out an extensive application designed to showcase their achievements and highlight the economic obstacles they have overcome.

After indicating Penn as one of their top choices, 220 students proceeded to the next round of the application process by submitting the Common Application and Penn's supplement.

From that pool of applicants, the undergraduate admissions office identified 83 students "they were interested in," Furda said.

Student Financial Services determined that 31 of those applicants met Penn's College Match criteria, meaning they were financially eligible for a $52,000 per year scholarship

The award will cover tuition and other living expenses.

Penn granted admission to 26 of the 31 financially-eligible students.

The remaining 52 students the admissions office is considering will be placed in the regular decision pool unless they request otherwise. Five of those 52 students have already asked that their applications be submitted for early decision admission, Furda said.

Participating in the College Match Program "took a lot of recruitment and evaluation effort," Furda said.

He attributed the high number of qualified students who were admitted through the match program to QuestBridge's rigorous screening process.

The applicants Penn received were already qualified and pre-selected, Furda said.

QuestBridge spokeswoman Beverly Clark said other schools are also satisfied with the program. In its second-year with QuestBridge, Emory University had 11 match scholars, the same number as last year..

Last year, 204 students in total were selected as College Match Scholars and received full scholarships to one of QuestBridge's partner schools nationwide.

QuestBridge has not yet released the total number of match scholars for this year.

Staff writer Elizabeth Rubin contributed reporting to this article.

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