By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — A new University of Connecticut initiative is designed to target and recruit students in the state’s 33 Alliance Districts, including Naugatuck.
UConn President Thomas Katsouleas announced the UConn Alliance Pathway on Feb. 4. The program is aimed at the state’s lowest-performing school districts, known as Alliance Districts.
Under the program, participating Alliance Districts will identify the top 10% of their graduating high school class, or students who are among the top 10% of free or reduced lunch recipients in their high school class.
UConn will then target the identified students for recruitment, and the university will tailor support services to try to increase the academic success of Alliance students who enroll, including mentorship programs, scholarships, career advice and networking.
Nathan Fuerst, vice president for enrollment, planning and management at UConn, said the university has made progress with enrolling larger numbers of first-generation, low-income and underrepresented minority students.
“The UConn Alliance Pathway is specifically designed to continue this trend, targeting our efforts in schools where there is great opportunity to identify talented and diverse students with capacity to succeed at UConn,” Fuerst said.
There will be no application fees and each student will have a designated point of contact at UConn to help personalize the process and support them, Furest said.
The university will reach out to Alliance schools each fall to identify their top students and then recruit and support them through the admissions process, Fuerst said.
“UConn will begin recruiting these students through direct outreach, admissions application support, FAFSA support, application fee waivers and other programming aimed at easing their pathway to enrollment at UConn,” Fuerst said.
The program is slated to begin in the fall of 2022, according to Fuerst.
There are 303 students currently in Naugatuck High School’s Class of 2022, according to Board of Education Chairman Jeffrey Litke.
Litke said last week Naugatuck school officials were still learning about what participating in the program entails, but he feels the initiative is promising.
“I look forward to learning more about this program, and my initial reaction is that it seems like a program that can be beneficial to our students and their future goals,” Litke said.
The Republican-American contributed to this report.