Michael McCullough

Ashoka Fellow
Stanford, California, United States
Fellow Since 2004


This profile was prepared when Michael McCullough was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Universities and scholarship programs often have abundant resources to offer low-income students, but inefficient recruiting systems often keep them from finding qualified applicants. For their part, talented students have trouble finding opportunities to advance their education; even the highest achieving students in poor communities struggle with intimidating processes of college admissions and financial aid. Through his organization QuestBridge, Michael meets the vital needs of both groups by creating strong and lasting matches between top universities, graduate schools, corporations, prep school scholarships, enrichment programs, and the nation’s most talented low-income students. QuestBridge identifies highly qualified students from poor communities and catalogues their academic honors and life experiences through a comprehensive electronic application which is then updated annually from the junior year in high school through graduation from college and into graduate schools and the work place. QuestBridge has become a universal application which can be customized for use by its different constituencies.
QuestBridge will process applications through a program called the QuestBridge CollegeMatch, using a mutual ranking system to create ideal pairings between students and schools. Finally, university partners provide matched students with a guarantee of four years of complete financial aid, ensuring that their full term of college focuses on study rather than budget. Through this work, Michael opens new opportunities for hundreds of high performing, underprivileged teens to get a quality education at the top colleges in the United States.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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