Tufts University on Tuesday announced agreements with Medford and Somerville aimed at increasing enrollment of the two cities’ public school students at the elite institution.
Tufts, whose campus lies in both communities, also will pay each city $1.375 million over the next five years, the latest installements of payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements first negotiated a decade ago.
The new agreements aim to boost the academic fortunes of students enrolled in Medford and Somerville public schools, which have a high percentage of low-income and minority students.
More than a dozen students from the two cities now attend Tufts, including two from Somerville and five from Medford in this year’s freshman class, according to the admissions office.
Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco said he would like to see more local students admitted.
“We want to make sure students from our local communities have a really good chance to get into Tufts, which would really make us very happy,” Monaco said during an interview after a press conference held in the library of the Roberts Elementary School in Medford.
Along with annual payments ranging from $175,000 to $275,000 to each city, Tufts will make its athletic fields available for youth sports and recreation programs in each city, according to the agreements.
Mayors of each city lauded the new agreements.
In a statement, Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said the money will be used to fund city services used by Tufts, such as police and fire. He also thanked Monaco and called Tufts “a terrfic community partner.”
Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn said the city will spend most of this year’s payment for education, ranging from building repairs, to instrumental music, to reading programs.
“We are extremely grateful for the (finances) tat will help fill the void that we can’t,” McGlynn said. “We already due very well with our acceptances to Tufts, but there are always those that are disappointed about not getting accepted. But now they’ll have more opportunity to succeed.”
As part of the agreement, Tufts will offer Kids to College, an academic enrichment program, to sixth graders in each city to help with college preparation. Ninth graders who may have little exposure to higher education will be invited to visit Tufts, officials said.
Tufts will also help provide SAT preparation, workshops on essay writing, and other services that aim to help all college bound seniors. “Our administration will do all that it can to help high school students make sure they have all the information they need (for admission) to higher education, and Tufts if they so wish” to apply.
Tufts will also waive the $70 application fee for Medford and Somerville high students seeking to attend the school.