UMass Tracks Minority High School Students

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has received $600,000 to fund an extraordinary program which gives special attention to selected area minority high school students, who are guaranteed admission to the university.

The program, soon to be expanded to all the UMass campuses, will address the problem of the university's dearth of minority students, officials said. The grant, awarded by L.G. Balfour Foundation, will fund the program for three years, The Boston Globe reported yesterday.

Springfield school system teachers and counselors recommend eighth graders for the program. Students receive tutoring in their classes during the week and make regular campus visits. If the students stay in the program through the 12th grade, they are guaranteed admission to the university.

"The core idea is quite simple," said Robert P. Wolff '54, co-director of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Humanities at UMass, Amherst. "The disastrous dropout of Hispanic and Afro-Americans begins in 8th grade, so if you recruit 12th graders, many are lost."

Wolff, who designed the mentor program, said assuring admission to the university was "essential" because it gives a student a "concrete goal".


High school tutoring programs, like Wolff's, are important because they increase educational opportunities for minority students, according to Maureen Hoyler, deputy director of the National Council of Educational Opportunity Associations. Recruitment programs in the past have merely concentrated on the immediate problem of diversity on university campuses, she said.

"We've focused all of our efforts on diversity, and ignored opportunity," Hoyler said. "If we're really trying to foster opportunity, we need to implement programs that help secure opportunity."

She said Harvard should be a leader in such programs. "Nationally, those of us involved in pre-college programs would like to see leadership from Harvard and the ivy league schools," she said.

The outreach programs at Harvard will increase, said Jane Corlette, vice president for government, community, and public affairs at Harvard. She said money for more outreach programs will be raised in the Uni- versity's upcoming capital campaign.

"For some time, we've had quite a few outreachprograms here and in other cities," said Dean ofAdmissions and Financial Aid William R.Fitzsimmons '67. "We want to increase the minoritypool generally [because] we and the minoritygroups benefit."

CHANCE, a Phillips Brooks House program,provides tutoring to students at Cambridge, Rindgeand Latin High School on the SAT and the Test ofEnglish as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), accordingto CHANCE Treasurer Vincent P. Fiorino '95. Tutorsalso help with writing and creative learningskills, as well as college counseling.

Fiorino said the program currently serves 80 to90 high school students, most of whom areminority. He said about 80 percent of students inthe program end up attending college