New Orleans high school student Dennis Maliq Barnes has clinched what is thought to be a US record after securing more than $9.7m in scholarship offers from nearly 140 American colleges and universities, surpassing a mark that had previously been set by another Louisianan.
Barnes recently made national headlines after his school sent out a news release announcing that he was approaching an apparent – if unofficial – four-year-old record of $9.4m after hearing back from about 125 of the more than 180 universities to which he had applied .
He had heard back from another 11 or so universities as of Friday, and that pushed his total offered academic aid about $300,000 over the prior record, said a spokesperson for International high school, from which Barnes is about to graduate. Barnes estimates he could ultimately end up with more than $10m in scholarship offers when every school to which he applied answers him.
International high spokesperson Steve Schulkens said the school has good reason to maintain that Barnes has earned more total dollars in scholarship offers than any other college-bound senior ever in the US.
In 2019, when she graduated from Early College academy in Lafayette, Louisiana, Normandie Cormier received just under $9.5m in scholarship offers from about 140 schools and sought recognition from Guinness World Records.
Guinness has said it doesn’t keep track of such a record. Cormier, meanwhile, said Guinness back then told her it had not found a person with more offered college scholarship money in the US than her, but the organization could not recognize her as a world record-holder because of differences with higher education systems in other parts of the globe.
nevertheless, Cormier – who’s a graduate student and now lives in New Orleans – said that she’s as proud as anyone of Barnes because he exemplified how many young Americans have a strong interest in pursuing higher education.
Known best to his friends by his middle name of Maliq, Barnes is a National Honor Society president, and his fluency in Spanish has earned him both a diploma from Spain’s educational, cultural and sports ministry as well as an award from the European nation’s honorary consul in New Orleans.
His academic excellence helped him earn promotion out of the sophomore and junior grades at International high, and he is preparing to graduate on 24 May despite being just 16 years old, which is younger than the typical senior, according to officials.
Barnes has already started accumulating college credits through a dual enrollment program offered by Southern University at New Orleans. The native of the New Orleans suburb of Marrero has been planning to announce on Tuesday at which college he intends to study in the fall. And he has also said that he is interested in working toward a dual degree in computer science and criminal justice.
In an interview with Yahoo NewsBarnes said he was proud to show that young Black men like him could be “mentally and academically capable of surpassing expectations”.
“It’s something that I feel good about being leading in right now,” Barnes said in the interview. He added that he wanted to use the recent media attention on him “to encourage others … in the Black community – and just upcoming juniors that are going to be seniors next year – to just keep pushing forward.”