For many college-bound seniors, worries about paying tuition can temper the joy of being accepted. For the Povolo quintuplets of Totowa, New Jersey, those concerns were multiplied by five.
But that anxiety lifted when they accepted Montclair State University’s offer of five Presidential Scholarships for high-achieving students – one for each sibling, Victoria, Masha, Ashley, Michael and Marcus. The offer also included grants and smaller merit scholarships that amount to a tuition-free four years for the family.
“Thank you, Montclair State, for allowing us this amazing opportunity and this special blessing,” Victoria Povolo, the oldest quintuplet and the one who explored financial aid for all five with the University, said after accepting the offer.
Victoria’s siblings and parents learned of the admissions offer at Passaic Valley High School in early February, when they thought they were meeting with guidance counselors to discuss financial aid but were instead met with a surprise by Rocky and a team from University Admissions.
“Your world can change in a moment,” mused their mother, Silvia Povolo, wiping away tears after the offer sunk in at the reveal.
Paying for college has been a concern since their children were born on the Fourth of July, 2002.
“We worried about that a lot,” recalls their father, Paolo Povolo. “We wondered, will we have to refinance the house? The last several months while they were applying to college have been so stressful.”
The quints met the academic criteria for the University’s Presidential Scholars Program, which rewards accomplished New Jersey students with a $5,000-a-year scholarship and additional academic, research-driven and career-focused activities, as long as they maintain the required GPAs.
In addition to scholarships, the Presidential Scholars program offers meaningful academic experiences, including access to alumni mentors and internships, spring break community service, lectures and research opportunities.
“The Povolos are exactly the type of students we had in mind when the University began offering this generous financial support to New Jersey’s most ambitious and determined students,” says Jeff Gant, director of Undergraduate Admissions.
Montclair State also offers a variety of programs that fit the quints’ needs. Victoria wants to be a forensic pathologist. Masha will study political science and plans to be a lawyer. Ashley dreams of teaching. Michael plans to study nutrition and food science. Marcus wants to be an accountant.
“Montclair State is the ideal option for us,” says Victoria.
Each sibling had choices when it came to colleges and thought about splitting up. But in the end they wanted to stay together.
“There’s a bond that I can’t explain that is there,” their mother says. “So even though they have their own lives, at the end of the day, everybody comes home.”