Town-Gown Triumph in Worcester

Partnership between schools in Worcester yields a path to college - The Boston Globe

Clark University is the worthy subject of this article in today's Globe focusing on its University Park Partnership. Here are some of the things Clark is doing:

University Park Campus School - Founded in 1997, UPCS is one of the top-ranked urban high schools in the country with 231 students in grades 7-12. " UPCS Students and teachers are on Clark’s campus nearly every day, not only using the labs or the gym but also observing and interacting with Clark students and faculty. UPCS students take mini-seminars with college faculty in grades 7 to 10, and most enroll in college classes for credit during their junior and senior years."

University Park Partnership Scholarships - Free tuition to any eligible resident of Worcester who has lived in the University Park neighborhood for at least five years prior to enrolling at Clark

Home-buying incentives for faculty and staff - Faculty and staff who buy a home in the Main South neighborhood of Worcester receive a $5,000 interest-free loan, which is reduced by $1,000 each year they live there. They also receive a 12 percent salary bonus annually for the first seven years they live there, with a $4,000 yearly maximum.

Even people at Harvard recognize the value of what Clark is doing - "It's an extraordinary success story," said Paul Reville, a Harvard University education policy researcher who is chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education. "These are students who have not traditionally done well in the public school system, and here they are all going on to college. There's a steady stream of people wanting to see how the school has done what it's done."

At last week's Harvard Allston Task Force meeting, the Harvard employees kept very quiet during Michael Contompasis's discussion about a deep partnership with Harvard and the formation of a university-assisted community school. Maybe a trip to Worcester would help.

Clark University Harvard University
Endowment $204.2 million $34.9 billion
Year Founded 1887 1636
Faculty 172 2,497
Students 2,797 20,042

Sources: &


  1. The point I don't get about this school -- and the same point would come up in any equivalent enterprise sponsored by other institutions, particularly Harvard -- is this: how, if the school is a success, do you make sure the "right" people keep benefitting from it? This is apparently a good school with what looks like guaranteed tuition-free admission to a good college (and university). This is a very attractive package. How do you prevent upper-middle class families, including but not restricted to your own employees, from grabbing most of the spots? I don't really see a way, especially in the current legal climate.

  2. This neighborhood and a school here could become highly gentrified, but given where we are now that's not going to happen any time soon.

    71% of Boston Public School students are eligible to receive free meals in school. At the Gardner School in Allston it is more than 80%. For children in a family of 4 to qualify for reduced-price meals, the family must earn less than $38,000 a year.

    Having more economic diversity in the form of children of university employees from a range of economic levels could be viewed as a good thing.