DALLAS - Hundreds of high school students got a big surprise on what they thought was a college campus tour. They were all given acceptance letters.
Around 400 students from Fort Worth ISD were invited to attend men’s and women’s basketball games at Paul Quinn College. The surprise came during a special ceremony between the two games.
"From this moment forward, every single senior at your high schools that have a 3.0 or better will automatically be admitted to Paul Quinn College," a representative from the college announced.
Qualified seniors at Dunbar, Eastern Hills and OD Wyatt high schools all received acceptance.
The Fort Worth ISD students thought they were on the southern Dallas campus for a typical college visit.
Leaders at Paul Quinn College said the offer is part of a new partnership with the school district to help fight poverty in the area.
Students were both shocked and encouraged by the announcement.
"It's not every day that you go to a college and get automatic acceptance into a college. And I think that's a sign of optimism for students at Dunbar High School and students all over the district who are here. A lot of people are discouraged about going to college because of family situations of financial difficulties and this is like a ray of optimism for them," said Leah Poland, a Dunbar High School senior.
Poland said she is still deciding where she wants to attend college.
She said she felt a sense of community and pride at Paul Quinn College and like the atmosphere.
But getting into a college is just one hurdle. Finding a way to afford it is another.
All the students are eligible for federal Pell Grants and were offered work-study programs.
Unlike loans, those grants in most cases do not need to be paid back.