MEDFORD — Tufts University announced agreements Tuesday with Medford and Somerville to increase enrollment of school students from the cities at the elite institution.
Tufts, whose campus lies in both communities, will also pay each city $1.375 million over the next five years, the latest installements of payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements.
The new agreements aim to boost the academic fortunes of students enrolled in Medford and Somerville public schools, which have many 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 the freshman class.
Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco 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,” Monaco said during an interview.
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, according to the agreements.
Mayors of each city lauded the new agreements.
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville 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 terrific community partner.”
Mayor Michael J. McGlynn of Medford said the city will spend most of this year’s payment for education, including building repairs and music and reading programs.
“We are extremely grateful for the [finances] that will help fill the void that we can’t,” McGlynn said. “We already do very well with our acceptances to Tufts, but there are always those who are disapppointed 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 might 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.”
Tufts will also waive the $70 application fee for Medford and Somerville high students seeking to attend the school.
At an event on Tuesday, a third-grade class sat at low desks, with books open. Some took the opportunity to question the president about his school. “How old is Tufts?” (161 years). “How many learning centers are there?” (10 colleges)
Then the president tried to stump them.
“Do you know the name of our mascot?”
“Jumbo!” they shouted in unison.