Commitment to Financial Aid / The Compound Rewards of Financial Aid

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"The fact that I’m living in Geneva and working in global health is a result of thinking bigger, imagining that I can do something bigger, being exposed to different ideas."

– Adil Bahalim ’02

Adil Bahalim ’02 didn’t know what boarding school was when his friend, Peter Li ’02, first told him about Concord Academy. Bahalim was living with his family under the poverty line in the suburbs of Houston, though his grades put him comfortably in the top 1 or 2 percent of his class. He liked what he heard about CA. Hoping it might give him a shot at better colleges, Bahalim applied, without ever having seen or set foot on CA’s campus. “It wasn’t until I got my acceptance letter with the financial aid package that I seriously considered going,” he says.

Once he arrived, Bahalim experienced cultural and academic shock, but the financial aspect was quite simple. One way that CA’s aid program distinguishes itself is by providing students everything they need, beyond room and board, to ensure students’ access to the same opportunities as their peers. For Bahalim this meant that everything — from basketball shoes for the CA team to lessons on the school’s Steinway, from formals to Saturday-night movies — was covered.

He went on to study physics at Davidson College and mechanical engineering at Cornell, achieving his objective to get a first-rate education. He also credits CA with his service-oriented view of the world, which inspired him to leave a private-sector management-consulting job “to find ways I could improve the world,” he says. Bahalim landed at the World Health Organization in Geneva, where he applied his quantitative background to disease modeling.

He eventually joined the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, where he helps strategize how to distribute $14 billion on programs fighting those diseases in settings where resources are limited.

The impact of Bahalim’s work is rippling around the globe, and he says CA is among the factors that expanded his realm of possibility. “The fact that I’m living in Geneva and working in global health is a result of thinking bigger, imagining that I can do something bigger, being exposed to different ideas,” he says. “It’s allowed me to express my potential as fully as possible.”