Equitable ExcellenceSM Scholarships Awarded to 200 Graduating High School Seniors
Annual scholarship program advances Equitable’s mission to build stronger communities through college access and career advancement
June 6, 2023
NEW YORK – June 6, 2023 – Equitable, a leading financial services organization and principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH), today announced the 2023 recipients of its annual Equitable ExcellenceSM Scholarship, which recognizes students who demonstrate the qualities of leadership, determination and resilience as critical enablers of their future success.
Designed to help students get to and through college, the holistic scholarship program provides financial assistance as well as year-round workshops covering budgeting, mental health, personal branding and resume writing. Approximately 94% percent of Equitable’s 2022 scholarship recipients are returning for their sophomore year, which is higher than the national average.1
“We are proud of these students and look forward to equipping them with the holistic support they need to overcome challenges they may encounter in college and ultimately prepare them to compete in the ever evolving 21st century workforce,” said Nick Lane, President of Equitable.
Of the 200 scholarship recipients, half will receive $5,000 renewable scholarships, which will support them throughout all four years of their undergraduate study. The other half will receive one-time $2,500 scholarships that can help them underwrite the immediate costs associated with higher education, such as tuition, books or fees.
The evolution of the Equitable Excellence scholarship program
Jarian Kerekes, head of Social Impact and Community Engagement at Equitable, notes that the Equitable Excellence scholarship program has had a greater impact on students in 2023, stemming from changes made to the program in 2021 to reach and support a more diverse group of students—particularly those from underserved communities.
For example, 70% of the 2023 recipients are BIPOC—a 26% increase from 2022. And 55% of the 2023 recipients are first-generation college students. All of them demonstrate some level of financial need.
Equitable also adapted the scholarship’s application criteria for the 2022 scholarship award cycle to focus more on GPA and less on standardized test scores and class rank, the former of which many experts believe is a more accurate predictor of post-secondary education success.
The company also reoriented the application process to focus more on personal essays that underscore students’ aspirations and potential, and less on extracurricular activities, which often require additional financial resources and can be challenging for students who are financially disadvantaged. In addition, recommendation letters were removed from the application process, which also can present obstacles for students who lack social capital.
Equitable also forged a relationship with Common App in 2022 to expand the scholarship’s reach to low-income and underrepresented high school seniors and formed a new, three-year research partnership with University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Urban School Counseling Collaborative designed to reveal strengths and opportunities within college access programs.
In year two of Equitable’s collaboration, Common App referred 19% of minority applicants and 20% of first-generation applicants to the Equitable Excellence scholarship. Of the 200 students awarded with an Equitable Excellence Scholarship in 2023, 41 applied through Common App, up from just two applicants in 2022.
In addition, Equitable will convene with several scholarship providers and education thought leaders at conferences throughout the remainder of 2023 to discuss best practices, engagement strategies and overall design, implementation and measurement of scholarship programs, using the Equitable Excellence Scholarship as a model.
“We are pleased with the impact our Equitable Excellence scholarship program has had on students in underserved communities thus far,” said Kerekes. “We’re on a continuous journey to test new ideas that will have a more meaningful impact on the lives of current and future recipients and inspire other organizations to make their scholarship programs more accessible and efficient,” said Kerekes.
The Equitable Excellence Scholarship is supported through a strategic partnership with Scholarship America, who selects scholarship recipients based on the criteria Equitable establishes.
Equitable, a principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EQH), has been one of America’s leading financial services providers since 1859. With the mission to help clients secure their financial well-being, Equitable provides advice, protection and retirement strategies to individuals, families and small businesses. Equitable has more than 8,000 employees and Equitable Advisors financial professionals and serves 2.8 million clients across the country. Please visit equitable.com for more information. Reference to the 1859 founding applies specifically and exclusively to Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY).
1 CollegeTransitions.com, “DataVerse: Retention and Graduation Rates,” 2023. Data was collected from each institution's Common Data Set for 2021-22, (https://www.collegetransitions.com/dataverse/retention-and-graduation-rates).