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Philadelphia senior Ylaine Zhu wins Gates Scholarship, will attend Drexel on full ride

Philadelphia senior Ylaine Zhu wins Gates Scholarship, full ride to Drexel
Philadelphia senior Ylaine Zhu wins Gates Scholarship, full ride to Drexel 02:57

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A School District of Philadelphia student is among the newest Gates Scholars.

The Gates Scholarship was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and it covers all college expenses for four years.

Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush senior Ylaine Zhu has read the email she received several times after being notified she was awarded the Gates Scholarship.

"I ran downstairs to my parents, to my dad, I was like, I get to go to college for free," Zhu said. "I called my mom because she was at work... I got a huge scholarship, all my college was paid for."

Ylaine will be the first in her family to attend college.

Who is eligible for the Gates Scholarship?

The Gates Scholarship is awarded to outstanding minority students from low-income households. Out of 53,000 applicants, only 1% are given a scholarship.

Ylaine said she had to answer a series of questions during an interview including, "if you could speak to Congress what would you say?"

"How we should improve our system of education, and people who are in low-income families don't have the chance to get good education to bring them out of poverty," Ylaine answered.

Helping others has been this senior's mission. She and her friends created a small business called Crochet Cove. The money from the business is donated to the school to help with after-school programs.

As an honor roll student, Ylaine's says it wasn't just her grades that got her in front of the Gates Foundation, it was her heart.

"Colleges want to look at if you are a good person," Ylaine said.

Ylaine has committed to Drexel University, where she will be attending in the fall.

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