Yale matches the second-highest number of QuestBridge finalists in the partnership’s history.
Yale Daily News
This week, the first members of the class of 2026 at Yale University opened their acceptance letters. Eighty-one QuestBridge finalists match with Yale, the second-highest number of matches Yale has seen since the league partnered with QuestBridge in 2007.
QuestBridge acknowledges that they are eligible to receive Yale University’s most generous financial aid package, consisting of $0 for parental participation, and for the second time, they are required to enroll. The upcoming first-year cohort doesn’t amount to just the 2024 class of QuestBridge’s cohort, in which 87 high school students match Yale’s. The 45 partner schools partnering with QuestBridge achieved a record 1,674 students this year.
“The achievements of our Match scholarship recipients are the culmination of their hard work and perseverance,” said Anna McCullough, co-founder and CEO of QuestBridge, in a press release. “Thanks to the commitment of our college partners, these deserving students can reach their full potential without worrying about the cost of a great education.”
QuestBridge is a national nonprofit organization that works with high-achieving and low-income students in the college application process. This year, 16,500 high school students applied for QuestBridge’s National College Match Scholarship, which offers full scholarships at prestigious universities to low-income students. QuestBridge selected 6,312 finalists for the match who were able to rank up to 12 of the organization’s partner colleges. Students match the highest school on their list that has chosen to accept them. About a quarter of QuestBridge finalists matched this course.
To be eligible for Yale, QuestBridge applicants must rank the school, endure Yale’s rigorous application review process, and meet the $0 parent participation financial criteria. Families with typical assets with an income of less than $75,000 per year do not pay the parental share.
“Just as there is no typical Yale applicant, there is no typical QuestBridge contestant,” Corinne Smith, Yale University admissions officer, wrote in an email to the news. “QuestBridge finalists come from all over the country. They vary in the types and sizes of schools and the towns and neighborhoods they apply from. The main thing they have in common is that QuestBridge finalists are high-achieving, low-income students whose family income is typically less than [$75,000] every year.”
As of last year, the Questbridge match at Yale University is obligatory, which means that Questbridge applicants who match Yale agree to enter the university if they are accepted. MIT remains the only QuestBridge partner with a non-binding policy. The only other contractors – Princeton University and Stanford University – have switched with Yale University, starting their last application cycle.
Because of the non-binding policy, Yale University matches in previous years do not necessarily indicate who has earned a college degree.
According to Mark Dunn, director of outreach and communication at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, more QuestBridge matches were accepted into Yale last year than the previous year, even though the 2024 class yielded 10 more than the 2025 class.
But this year, all 81 QuestBridge matches will pass through the Phelps Gate next fall, and they will likely be joined by other QuestBridge applicants. More QuestBridge students may join the class of 2026 as early action and regular decision outcomes emerge. For example, of the 400 students from Questbridge on campus, 131 are in the first year class, even though only 87 students matched Yale in December 2020.
“Since our partnership with QuestBridge began, we have always acknowledged more QuestBridge finalists through regular decision or action early through the match, and we expect this year to be the same,” Dunn said.
Any QuestBridge Finalist who ranked Yale during a match but did not match a university or other QuestBridge partner will be automatically entered into the normal decision pool without the need to fill out a new form or pay an application fee. Those who did not rank in Yale’s University Ranking may choose to have Questbridge forward their applications to Yale for regular decision-making, and non-finalists can still apply to Yale through coalition or joint applications.
Dunn emphasized that the application reviews and financial aid processes for Questbridge applicants are “exactly identical” to non-Questbridge students who apply through early procedures or regular decision rounds.
But Yale University is conducting a more specific outreach to QuestBridge applicants. Smith runs Quest for College, a collaborative initiative with Colorado College, University of Chicago, University of Southern California, and Vanderbilt University. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Quest for College representatives took trips to target areas, but now they run virtual programs targeting students and counselors on admissions, financial aid, and QuestBridge. Independently, Yale conducts its own information sessions for potential QuestBridge matches.
“Yale is proudly positive for students from low-income backgrounds,” Smith said. “Working with QuestBridge is a key component of this work and toward Yale’s overall priorities.”
Luke Couch ’23 serves as Co-Chair of the QuestBridge Scholars Network at Yale University along with Karen Lee ’23. He told the news that QuestBridge connects students to opportunities they might not otherwise find and universities bring in “talented students from backgrounds and populations they might not otherwise have access to.”
Lee agreed, calling the college match an “absolute comfort” for her family and stressing the strong community of QuestBridge Scholars at Yale and across all partner universities.
QuestBridge Corporation was founded in 2004.