Access Programs at University of Puget Sound is designed to promote academic excellence and expand college opportunities for Tacoma Public Schools middle and high school students from traditionally underrepresented groups in higher education.
Access Programs are open to students in grades 7 through 12 enrolled in the Tacoma School District who are members of one or more of the following groups:
- first-generation college students
- minoritized groups underrepresented in higher education
- groups with socioeconomic statuses underrepresented in higher education
Access Programs include three types of programs
- Access to College Initiatives: academic-year tutoring/mentoring/academic support and Access Club activities in Tacoma Public Schools middle and secondary schools and Tuesday Night Tutoring and College Access Days on the University of Puget Sound campus.
- Summer Academic Challenge: four-week tuition free STEAM based program at the University of Puget Sound campus which has been shown to significantly improve college retention. In fact, over a six-year period (2014–20) at Puget Sound, the one-year retention rate for former Summer Academic Challenge participants (89%) was significantly better than the rate for all other first-year students (83%), including 100% retention of students who participated in two or more Challenges. For the fall 2019 cohort in particular, one-year retention rates for former Summer Academic Challenge participants (88%) was significantly better than the rest of the cohort (76%).
- Access Cohort Program: provides financial, academic, and social support to Access Program students who enroll at the University of Puget Sound.