Clark University has taken steps to make a free college education a reality for more Worcester residents. For the first time in a quarter century, the university is expanding the University Park Partnership (UPP) Scholarship Zone by 26 streets, enabling an additional 1,100 students to qualify for the University Park Partnership (UPP) Scholarship. This award allows city residents who have lived in the University Park neighborhood for five years or more to qualify to attend Clark tuition-free.
Clark has awarded 165 scholarships — an investment of approximately $11.3 million in the UPP Scholarship program — since the fall of 2000. The award does not include room and board).
Currently, ten UPP scholars are enrolled at Clark. According to Joseph Corazzini, Clark’s vice president of government and community affairs, it is a high priority for Clark to fund the program and provide all interested, qualified Worcester residents with the opportunity to pursue UPP Scholarships.
“Not only does Clark wish to continue providing this longstanding benefit to members of our community, we want to expand our reach and make it possible for even more Worcester residents to realize their dream of getting a college degree. As neighbors and partners, our collective futures are tied,” Corazzini said. “We hope the young people in our community will take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience all that Clark has to offer.”
Students from Claremont Academy, Worcester Technical High School, Quinsigamond Community College, South High Community School, and other local high schools have been awarded UPP Scholarships; however, the majority of UPP Scholars have come from University Park Campus School (UPCS), a neighborhood school created in partnership with Clark through the UPP in 1997. Between 2012 and 2022, 58% of UPP Scholars were UPCS graduates.
“The young people in our community have some incredible options when it comes to pursuing a college degree; we have several highly regarded colleges and universities right here in Central Massachusetts. The expansion of the UPP Scholarship Zone furthers Clark’s unique support of Worcester residents and helps make a degree more attainable for our neighbors,” said Emily E. Roper-Doten, vice president for undergraduate admissions and financial assistance.
“The Worcester Public Schools is tremendously grateful for Clark University committing to serve more of our students through the University Park Partnership Scholarship,” said Dr. Rachel H. Monárrez, superintendent of Worcester Public Schools. “I thank Clark University — a valued member of the Worcester community — for working with us to remove barriers and ensure our scholars can achieve success.”
The expanded UPP Scholarship zone closely resembles a section of Worcester that the Main South Community Development Corporation identifies as its Community Investment Program target area. The Main South CDC Community Investment Plan 2023–2025 reports that within the CIP area, 18.7% of those over 25 have earned an associate degree or above, and 29% of those over 25 do not have a high school diploma.
“This program is about brightening the future for youth in our Main South neighborhood,” said Corazzini. “I hope the scholarship opportunity will serve as an incentive for young brilliant minds to continue working hard and to consider Clark.”
Clark will hold an Application and Financial Aid Workshop for UPP Scholarship Zone students and families on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Grace and Lurie Conference Rooms in the Higgins University Center.
Learn more about UPP Scholarships or call Lisa Gillingham at 508-793-7614 for more information.