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Frequently Asked Questions


What is EMERGE?

EMERGE is a nonprofit organization based in Houston, TX that aims to prepare high-achieving high school students from underserved communities to attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities nation-wide. 


Who do we serve?

Current Houston high school students in Houston ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Spring ISD, Aldine ISD, and Klein ISD.

Does EMERGE serve any other areas outside of Houston?

Unfortunately, not at this time. 

How many students does EMERGE serve? 

We currently have over 1,600 High School Fellows and over 1,500 College Scholars. To learn more about our Scholars, click here. 


Does EMERGE provide scholarships for college?

Unfortunately, EMERGE is NOT a scholarship organization. However, through our 1:1 advising, we help students find and apply to various scholarships. Additionally, we advise all students to apply to schools that give generous financial aid packages and help students to make the most informed decision. 


How much does it cost to participate in EMERGE?

EMERGE is a completely free program. 


What if I am not interested in out of state schools?

We ask that all students have some interest in exploring options outside of Texas. If you are not committed to exploring options outside of Texas, EMERGE might not be the best fit program for you. However, we still encourage all students to apply to schools within the state.


Is EMERGE Fellowship the same as EMERGE HISD? 

We partner with HISD. You can learn more about them here


Is there an income limit?

Students selected for the EMERGE program show demonstrated financial need. Typically, your household income should be less than $75,000 a year. 


What is the income cut off?

During Phase One, EMERGE will review every application submitted, regardless of income. However, if the income submitted is greater than $75,000, admission is unlikely. During Phase Two, we consider household size, parent income and expenses, and other applicant circumstances when making the decision to advance students to the final round. 


Where do I find my family’s adjusted gross income (AGI)?

If your family completed a 1040 tax return for 2019, you can find this amount on line 37. FAFSA has a great article about locating your adjusted gross income here.


What if my family did not file taxes? Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes. You will need to show proof of income through W-2 statements during Phase Two of the application process.


If I am not a U.S. citizen, can I still apply?

Yes, all students regardless of citizenship status are eligible to apply.


If I am not on free/reduced lunch, am I eligible?

EMERGE will review all applications regardless of FRL status. However, we use FRL status as an indicator for income level. This will be considered during Phase Two of the application process along with various other applicant circumstances.


What does it mean to be a first-generation student?

EMERGE considers first-generation to describe any student who will be of the first generation in their immediate family to attend a 4-year college or university in the United States. If your parent attended school and received a degree from an institution outside of the US, we consider you to be a first-generation student. If your parent did not attend school and receive a degree from an institution in the US, but you have a sibling that is currently enrolled and/or received a degree from an institution in the US, you are still considered among the first-generation in your family to attend college.


Application Requirements


Are standardized test scores required on the application?

Standardized test scores are not required for you to submit an application.


Is there a minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement?

Yes. All applicants must have and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale.


If I am not in the top 10% of my class, can I still apply?

Although academic achievement is heavily considered in the selection process, we review all applicants holistically and recommend that all students who are

eligible apply. 


Can I apply if I received a C on my transcript?

See the above answers.


Family Information

Do I need to report any government assistance received due to COVID?

Yes. Please provide as accurate information as possible when answering the questions on the application.


What does “non-custodial parent” mean?

Your non-custodial parent (NCP) refers to the biological parent that does not have custody of you. This can be a parent that you communicate with everyday or not at all.


Which parent’s income should I report on the application?

You should provide both your primary parent’s income and your non-custodial parent’s income, if possible. If you have step-parents, please feel free to add their income as well.


What should I put if I have very limited contact with one or more of my parents?

If you have had no contact with one or more of your parents for over a year, then you do not need to input their financial information. However, you should explain your family circumstance - including the lack of communication - in the space provided on the application. 



Application Status

How will I be notified if I am selected to advance to the next round?

All applicants will be notified of their status via email. Please check the email listed on your application regularly to ensure you do not miss any updates. To find out when to expect an application update, please review our application timeline here.


Will I be notified if I do not advance to the next round?

Yes, all applicants will be notified via email. 

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