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  • Am I eligible to apply?
    Access Opportunity uses the income guidelines set by the federal government. Each year, the federal government calculates something called the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or the "poverty line," which is an economic measure used to decide whether the income level of an individual or family qualifies them for certain federal benefits and programs. Families that make 300% or less of the FPL are considered eligible for our program. We collect information for all family members, including non-custodial parents (those that the student does not live with) unless the student is not in contact with one or both parents. This table outlines these income requirements: We encourage any students whose family income exceeds these guidelines to share any special circumstances or significant financial hardships in their application to see if they may qualify. Any applicant who exceeds these guidelines and does not share special circumstances will be disqualified from consideration.
  • How do I apply?
    The application opens on January 1 and is due by March 1. There is a detailed outline of our application process on our website. All students who begin an application will receive a comprehensive application guide, and we will send out additional tips via email. If you have any questions, you may email us at
  • How many students apply? How many will be accepted?
    Access Opportunity is a selective program, and we unfortunately cannot accept all students who apply. Each year, we receive approximately 100-150 applications and are only able to accept 15-20 students. However, do not let these numbers discourage you from applying! Students who thoroughly research the program and are thoughtful and intentional in their applications do well in the process. Additionally, completing an application for AO will be great practice for when you apply for college in a few years. We want to hear from you, so make the case for why you would be a good fit for our program!
  • How are students selected?
    After you submit your application, it will be reviewed by several Access Opportunity staff members, plus 1-2 upper-level AO college students who serve in leadership roles within the organization. We look at applications holistically, which means that we consider a broad range of factors - including your experiences, interests, goals, and accomplishments. Successful applicants are committed to their communities, involved with a variety of activities at school and/or with a job, are strong students, and are excited to be a part of a tight-knit community. They also put a lot of time and effort into writing their application, which usually includes getting feedback from a trusted mentor before submitting.
  • Can I apply for Access Opportunity if I am not a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident?
    Access Opportunity is open to all students with legal status in the United States. This includes U.S. Citizens, Permanent or Conditional Residents, Refugees, Asylees, and DACA students. Unfortunately, undocumented students are not eligible to apply.
  • Is there a fee to apply? Are there any costs associated with the program?
    There are no fees to apply or participate in the Access Opportunity program. All services are completely free to students and their families.
  • Are there any program requirements? What is expected of me as an AO Scholar?
    Access Opportunity has a set of core requirements designed to support students’ college and career success. As a condition of your participation, you must agree to do the following throughout your time in the program: Remain in good academic standing with a GPA of 2.5+ each term (2.0 in your first-year of college). Stay on path to graduate "on time" with a four-year degree by maintaining full-time student status. Communicate consistently with AO staff by responding to texts and emails within 3 days, unless there are emergency circumstances. Attend and participate fully in all required programming, with no more than two excused absences per year (one in the first half of the academic year, June-November, and one in the second half of the year, December-May). Required programming includes: Quarterly cohort meetings (September, November, February, and April) Seasonal workshops (June and January) Any other class-specific requirements listed in our annual calendar Work towards your college and career goals through regular one-on-one counselor meetings (at least 4x per year for high school students and 2x per year for college students). Submit all requested materials by specified deadlines, including (but are not limited to) transcripts, financial aid documentation, receipts, exit surveys, and program assessments. Be an ambassador for Access Opportunity by upholding good conduct both in school (no suspensions or expulsions), out of school (no criminal activity or record), and at all Access Opportunity events and programs. Character issues are subject to review by an AO committee. Being accountable to the expectations outlined above ensures that you have the best possible AO experience, and that your peers have the best possible experience as well. When you do not adhere to these expectations, you miss out on forming strong connections, and your peers miss out on learning from you. This makes it much harder to build the kind of cohesive community that is the heart of the AO program. We expect you to take your commitment to this program seriously out of respect for your fellow students and staff. If a student does not meet these expectations, they will be asked to meet with an AO counselor to discuss a plan for improvement, according to the processes below. Students who do not meet expectations for three terms and/or who receive three unexcused absences risk being removed from the program.
  • How can the $10,000 scholarship be used?"
    You will be eligible to receive up to $2,500 per year for 4 years of college. Your AO scholarship is “flexible funding,” which means you can use it for most educational expenses, including: Direct costs that appear on your university bill (such as tuition, fees, on-campus housing, meal plans, and university-sponsored health insurance) Campus parking passes or permits Rent (if you are living off-campus) Travel costs between your college and your home (up to four times per year) Computers, textbooks, and other hardware/software or supplies (i.e. calculators, scrubs, etc) that are required for your program of study Paying for groceries, toiletries, and laundry Study abroad tuition and fees and/or flights to and from your study abroad location Internship stipends A test prep class for graduate school Graduate school applications or interview fees/expenses You may not use the card for: Decorations or supplies for your dorm room (Graduating seniors will have the opportunity to create a wishlist of dorm supplies that AO will purchase as a gift, separate from your scholarship fund.) Beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages Personal or social activities such as Greek Life, school clubs, personal travel, etc Expenses related to owning a personal vehicle (with the exception of campus parking passes) Cash withdrawal from an ATM or bank
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