HSBC First Opportunity Partners Scholarship

In a focused effort to assist at-risk students in successfully completing their final years in college and earning their degree, HSBC–North America provided FIHE with grant support of $525,000 to fund a “gap” scholarship program which had very positive results.

The HSBC program is distinct in that it specifically targeted the most at-risk students – students with multiple factors that could deter success in college and their likelihood of graduation. The approach of this scholarship program is based on the successful CIC-FIHE First Opportunity Partners initiative, which aims to improve access and success at private colleges and universities for first-generation, low-income, minority, and new American students.

The hypothesis of the program is that $5,000 in “gap funding," when added to other financial aid and combined with the encouragement provided by winning a national scholarship, would make a significant difference in retention and degree completion.


​The results are impressive: For the first cohort of students, which began in 2006, 19 of the 20 students graduated (95 percent) in the institution where they began their studies. This far surpasses the national average for degree completion in four years. Data on the progress of succeeding cohorts of HSBC First Opportunity Partners Scholarship recipients, including the final group selected for the 2011-2012 academic year, is being compiled; preliminary data show similar high rates of success.

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