Holy Cross Announces $40 Million Scholarship Initiative to Expand Access to Financial Aid

Photo by Avanell Chang

Partnership with Schuler Education Foundation to increase access for high-achieving undocumented and Pell-eligible students

The College of the Holy Cross announced today it has partnered with the Schuler Education Foundation on a $20 million matching grant, for a total of $40 million, to expand its financial aid support of low-income students and students with undocumented status. To qualify for this funding, Holy Cross has committed to raise a dollar-for-dollar match of the total amount expected from the Foundation over the next 10 years.

Holy Cross is one of just five schools, and the only college located in Massachusetts, selected this year to partner with the Chicago-based foundation on the Schuler Access Initiative, which aims to generate $1 billion in investment for this underserved population over a 10-year period. The College joins Barnard College, Centre College, Scripps College and Trinity College, in this second cohort of partnerships with the Schuler Education Foundation, and Carleton College, Kenyon College, Union College, Bates College and Tufts University, in the inaugural cohort.

“Holy Cross is honored to partner with the Schuler Education Foundation to promote greater access and affordability to undocumented, underrepresented and Pell-eligible students,” said President Vincent D. Rougeau. “The Schuler Access Initiative vividly reflects our Jesuit mission to serve the greater good. The College and its donors look forward to supporting these deserving young scholars as they enrich our community and take full advantage of all Holy Cross has to offer.”

This initiative builds on Holy Cross’ existing efforts to make college affordable and accessible. In meeting 100 percent of every admitted student’s full demonstrated financial need, the college now provides approximately $64.3M in financial aid each year, with 63 percent of students receiving aid.

“Our family focuses on underrepresented, undocumented and low-income students because we know that they are smart, capable, hard-working, ambitious students who, when given equal access to opportunities, do great things that benefit our communities, said Tanya Schuler Sharman, co-founder of the Schuler Education Foundation. “The Schuler Access Initiative will allow all 10 colleges, and hopefully many more, to open up more seats for these deserving students and push forward the important conversation liberal arts institutions need to have to close the divide in an unequal society.”

Qualifying colleges meet at least 80% of students' financial need, have a donor base committed to investing in access for undocumented and Pell-eligible students, and demonstrate a strong history of supporting these students through to graduation.

Holy Cross has a strong history of not only recruitment, but also successful graduation rates, for Pell-eligible and undocumented students. Some of the College’s significant efforts in recent years to make a Holy Cross education more accessible:

2022: Holy Cross becomes a QuestBridge partner college, joining a small and distinguished group of peer institutions who are committed to enrolling high-achieving students from low-income families.

2021: Holy Cross is designated a First-gen Forward institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation.

2018: Holy Cross joins the American Talent Initiative to fortify its contributions to increasing the number of first-generation college students by 50,000 nationally.

For more information about the Schuler Access Initiative, visit https://schulereducationfoundation.org/schuler-access-initiative.