October 29, 2007
Grants make college a reality for local students
Rochester city high school students long on college aspirations but short on support may soon find themselves full-time undergraduates thanks to the launch of two new Upward Bound programs at the University.
The announcement of a $2 million award from the United States Department of Education will be made today at a press conference at Thomas Jefferson High School. The funding will be used to operate a program targeting students at Thomas Jefferson High School, and another for math and science enthusiasts across the Rochester City School District. The initiatives combined will receive roughly $500,000 annually over the next four years and serve as many as 100 students from low-income households or who are the first in their family intent on attending college.
“The University is delighted to partner with the Rochester City School District to help more of our city’s students realize their dream of attending college,” says President Seligman. “Today’s students are in a real sense the future of our society. Those with a supportive school system as well as encouragement from the community have the best chance of making the future that much brighter.”
“We are very excited the University of Rochester is expanding its already strong presence in our schools by offering this tremendous opportunity for students at Jefferson High School,” says Rochester Interim Superintendent of Schools William Cala. “This project will provide unprecedented levels of support to keep students on track toward graduation and to open the doors to college that might otherwise remain closed.”
Under the Upward Bound programs, which are the first of their kind at the University and will comprise the largest such initiative in the district, as many as 100 students will visit River Campus weekly for tutoring and other cultural enrichment activities provided by the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Science and Engineering.
Students also will get a taste of the academic rigors and social aspects of college life during a multiweek residential program each summer. Participants will stay in residence halls, learn how to navigate the sometimes overwhelming college application process, and receive math, science, literature, and SAT preparation.
“The goal is to create a web of support around each student that they might not otherwise have and to change the way they think about their education,” says Beth Olivares, assistant dean for diversity issues and director of the Kearns Center who wrote the successful grant proposals. “Participants will learn about the college and financial aid application process early on, and will be assisted through those processes in a detailed manner from start to finish.”
Students accepted into either program would ideally begin their participation in the 9th grade. Successful completion of the programs requires students to stay involved through their senior year in high school. Admission is based on recommendations from educators, interviews with students and their parents or guardians, and a strong desire to attend college.
Both programs are expected to begin accepting applications before the end of the calendar year and notifying students of admission by January. Coursework will begin shortly after, and the residential program will be up and running by summer.