PPS SUPERINTENDENT DR. WAYNE WALTERS, SECOND FROM RIGHT, WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE INFINITE SCHOLARS PROGRAM.
by Marcia Liggett
For New Pittsburgh Courier
The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that the Infinite Scholars Program (ISP) will be hosting a Free Scholarship Fair on Tuesday, Sept. 19. It will be the eleventh time the event is held in Pittsburgh.
Unlike a traditional college fair, participants will be eligible for immediate provisional admission and will be awarded scholarships to some colleges and universities on the spot.
According to Pittsburgh Public Schools, more than $1 million in 1-year scholarships; and $4.3 million in 4-year scholarships were awarded to their students at the 2022 Pittsburgh fair.
Founded by Thomas “T” Ousley in 2003 in St. Louis, Mo., Infinite Scholars was designed to ensure that financially disadvantaged students deserving to go to college could receive the funding they needed. Currently the CEO, Ousley continues to strategically provide students with access to higher education in hopes of equipping them for lifelong career opportunities. Since its inception, ISP has been involved in awarding more than a billion dollars in scholarships at their fairs.
Board member at-large, Dr. Melvin Steals, and wife, Adrena, are responsible for bringing the fair to Pittsburgh. With support from Dr. Wayne Walters, the former principal of Barack Obama Academy and current PPS superintendent, Dr. Steals hosted the inaugural scholarship fair in the region in 2012. Dr. Walters continues to support what Dr. Steals describes as a pipeline for college and higher educational opportunities.
The unique design of the scholarship fair enables students to apply free of charge to multiple colleges and universities in one day, with the potential to receive numerous scholarship offers instantaneously, which Dr. Steals describes as “a game-changer.”
“You get immediate feedback,” explained Steals to the Courier. “You will know if you are someone the college will admit and how much money you will receive. College reps are able to make decisions on the spot based on information provided by the students. Some students receive partial or full scholarships the day of the fair.”
Steals added: “This is an opportunity for those young people who have the will and the skill to do their due diligence. If they do, this is their payoff. This is a premier opportunity and if you present yourself well, the sky’s the limit.”
Marc Anthony Peters Jr., an Infinite Scholar and Pittsburgh native, received 15 scholarships (some partial, some full) during the two hours he attended the scholarship fair as a senior in high school in 2019. Peters accepted a scholarship at Duquesne University after learning about their “3-3 Early Admissions Law Program” at the scholarship fair.
“Dress for success,” Peters said, “be prepared, and set yourself apart.”
Peters attributes ISP for helping him learn about and navigate the college application and selection process.
This year the fair will be held at the Greenway Professional Development Center, 1400 Crucible Street, in Pittsburgh’s West End, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Representatives from over 40 colleges and universities are expected to be in attendance.
High school students and their parents from the region are invited and encouraged to attend.
Attendees must pre-register atinfinitescholar.org. Students should bring multiple copies of the following: Unofficial high school transcripts; ACT/SAT scores; Essay about why you want to attend college; Two letters of recommendation; and a resume.