In fall 2015, the University of Puget Sound launched the Access Scholars Cohort Program. The cohort program is an institutional initiative aimed to increase recruitment of admissible individuals from underrepresented and under-served groups, improve structural diversity, and promote students’ retention and success.

For this program, a cohort is defined as a group of students who take on the college journey together on the road to graduation. The cohort will serve as a peer support network where each of the students can encourage persistence and eventual success among one another. The cohort will bring together 5-10 students per year, all of whom have successfully completed at least one Summer Academic Challenge.

In addition to Puget Sound’s financial commitment and strengthened partnership with the Tacoma Public School and Pierce County  Districts, students participating in the Access Scholars Cohort Program will receive social, cultural, and academic support, have faculty mentors, and regularly meet peers from Tacoma throughout the academic year. Access Scholars will also be provided the opportunity to develop leadership skills, pursue personal growth, and cultivate community in a supportive environment necessary to achieve academic success.


Requirements for Participation

Students will receive a financial aid package that meets the full financial need and includes further reduced loans for Access and Summer Academic Challenge (SAC) students who enroll at the University of Puget Sound according to the following criteria:

  1. Successfully completed at least one Summer Academic Challenge Program.  
  2. Graduate of TPS or greater Pierce County School District
  3. Apply to, are admitted, and enrolled at Puget Sound as a first-year student.


School Year Participation

Faculty Mentorship
The cohort includes a mentorship component through the pairing of a faculty member and cohort students. The faculty will meet with Access scholars individually once every two weeks. A Puget Sound faculty member will serve as a mentor and will provide student check-ins, offer advice and support, and student referral to additional resources when needed.

Cohort Community Support
Once a month, the cohort will meet collectively to participate in community cultivation outings. These gatherings serve as safe spaces for cohort students to connect, converse, and support each other culturally, socially, and academically.