Quest Diagnostics, as part of the Quest for Health Equity (Q4HE) initiative, recently provided a $97,350 grant to Marlborough High School in Massachusetts to support Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) prep and Advanced Placement (AP) courses as well as the cost of the exams for approximately 300 students from surrounding under-resourced communities. Q4HE is a multi-year initiative of Quest Diagnostics and the Quest Diagnostics Foundation focused on providing a combination of donated testing services, education programs, partnerships and funding to support initiatives to close the gap in healthcare disparities for groups that have been economically/socially marginalized.
Quest’s support helps remove financial barriers from families to participate in the SAT exam and AP courses. The school administrators anticipate that the students who take part in the prep and tutoring courses will see increased exam scores. This creates an opportunity for scholarships and college credits.
“Many local families are not able to afford SAT and AP test prep, books, and exam fees,” said Karthik Kuppusamy, PhD, North Region VP/GM, Quest Diagnostics. “We are happy to help level the playing field for under-resourced students at Marlborough High School, which is just a few miles from Quest’s Marlborough laboratory.”
Karthik spoke and presented a check at the March 22 Marlborough School Committee Meeting. He was joined by Quest Diagnostics colleagues Pauline Brannelly, Human Resources Business Partner, Laboratory Operations, North Region; Stephen Farina, Senior Director, Laboratory Operations, New England; and Kristen Parsons, Communications Manager, North Region.
Marlborough High School Principal Dr. Dan Riley said, “We are so grateful for the generosity of the Quest Diagnostics in supporting SAT/AP prep at MHS for historically underserved students. The grant will make a big impact on our community. We look forward to measuring and sharing the results.”
Marlborough High School has seen a lack of SAT and AP participation from economically disadvantaged students, as well as Hispanic/Latino students even though they make up the majority of the population. In fact, less than half of Latino/Hispanic students took the SAT during the 2019-2020 school year.
Of the 1,050 students at Marlborough High School, 69% are high-need, which is defined as at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support, such as students who are living in poverty, homeless, foster care, have disabilities, are English learners, etc.
Of the juniors and seniors at Marlborough High School that took the SAT in 2019-2020, only 17% were high-need students. Similarly, only 25% of high-need students took AP courses. Even fewer of high-need students took the AP exams and scored a 4 or 5 which could allow them college credit.
Funding this community-based effort helps address social determinants of health. Representatives from Quest hope that the collaboration with Marlborough High School will encourage other local businesses to support this type of vital school programming aimed at education equity.