Pomona College has received a $5 million gift to support the Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS), a college preparation and mentoring program for underserved high school students in the Inland Valley. PAYS is the signature program of the College's Draper Center for Community Partnerships.
Each year, PAYS serves 90 rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in a yearlong array of activities designed to give them insight into the college experience, to challenge them academically, and to develop a peer group striving for success in four-year colleges and universities. During the summer, PAYS participants live on the Pomona College campus for four weeks and engage in a rigorous liberal arts curriculum intended to push their academic boundaries and to foster community among students and college mentors. That support system continues during the academic year with meetings on the college campus, SAT classes, and bilingual college information and financial aid workshops to help students and their families understand the college admissions process. Each scholar is part of PAYS for three consecutive years. More than 90 percent of PAYS students are socioeconomically disadvantaged.
Since the program's founding in 2003, 270 students have graduated from PAYS and 100 percent of PAYS alumni have been admitted to selective four-year colleges and universities, including the Claremont Colleges (of which Pomona is the founding member), Harvard College, Stanford University, Amherst College and Williams College.
"PAYS provides students with the opportunity to reach for their dreams and changes lives," says Pomona College President David Oxtoby. "This wonderful gift will help ensure that even more students realize a vision of college accomplishment. It's been a transformative program for everyone connected with it – participants as well as faculty members, volunteers and mentors."
The Pomona College Draper Center was established in 2009 and has become an important community catalyst, supporting learning through service, collaboration and change-making in our local communities. The Center's mission is to foster mutually beneficial exchanges among community members, students, faculty, and staff in order to support educational outreach initiatives, community-based research and learning, and other community engagement activities that improve the quality of life beyond Pomona College. The Draper Center is named in recognition of the generosity and support of Ranney Draper (Class of 1960), his wife Priscilla Draper and the Draper Family Foundation.