Tufts University will pay the City of Somerville more than $1.3 million over five years, waive application fee for Somerville High School students


The City of Somerville and Tufts University have reached a partnership agreement through which Tufts will contribute $1.375 million over five years to the City. As part of the agreement, Tufts will also waive the university’s application fee for Somerville High School students and provide college preparation assistance for Somerville students beginning in the sixth grade.

Tufts will make annual payments to the City of $275,000, representing a significant increase of nearly two-thirds more in financial payments, from $175,000 to $275,000 per year, as well as the inclusion of the new provisions to both support and benefit Somerville Public School students.

Those provisions include Tufts agreeing to waive the $70 application fee for students applying from Somerville High School and that the university’s Dean of Undergraduate Admission will personally read and evaluate applications from Somerville High School students. Tufts will bring the entire Somerville High School ninth grade class to the university’s campus during the school year for early exposure and awareness about the college process, and will offer SAT preparation tutoring, essay writing workshops for applying students and writing workshops for teachers who are preparing recommendations for their students.

“Tufts has been a terrific community partner to Somerville and I’m thrilled we have an agreement that not only provides funding for the City services used by the Tufts community, such as police and fire, but more importantly gives our high school students the support they need to enter college and fulfill their greatest potential,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “I want to thank Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco for working with the City on this agreement and continuing our great partnership.”

“Our relationship with the city of Somerville is important to Tufts, and I am pleased we have finalized this partnership agreement,” said Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco. “We will be continuing our close engagement with the community and the public schools.”

Other support for Somerville students includes the Tufts Dean of Admissions sending a personal letter inviting Somerville High School top performers, as identified by the school’s guidance office, to apply for admission. Tufts admission staff will visit Somerville High School each January to offer personal interviews for students who have applied. It will also provide speakers to the high school for assemblies about college readiness and admissions; offer the Kids to College program for sixth graders; and reserve Triangle Field for City of Somerville Youth Soccer each fall.

“Our partnership with Tufts University plays a critically important role in preparing our students for success in college and beyond,” said Tony Pierantozzi, Somerville Superintendent of Schools. “We’re fortunate to have Tufts be such an active partner in preparing our students for a globally competitive market. Tufts is a fantastic partner who is involved in our school community in numerous ways, at every level. We look forward to continuing to partner with them for many years to come.”


11 Responses to “Tufts University and City of Somerville Reach 5-Year Partnership Agreement”

  1. Matt says:

    There are two facts that we need to understand if this were a good deal for somerville.
    1. What is the actual value of the taxes applied to the land if it were residential or commercial space
    2. How does this compare to the deals in Cambridge or boston?

    Granted, without the facts I can’t be sure, but 275k per year seems like a fraction of what it would be given what myself and my neighbors pay for our taxes on postage stamp plots..

  2. Jim says:

    Glad Tufts reached into their change dish to throw some nickels to Somerville. How about they build some dormitories? Tuft’s current housing strategy is to displace the residents of the surrounding neighborhood and turn the area into Allston (e.g., trash, slumlords, noise, vandalism, 5 luxury SUVs w/ out of state plates crammed into each driveway). Several hundred housing units could be freed up if Tufts would just bring their undergrads onto campus.

    Real leadership at City Hall would coerce Tufts into bringing their undergrads onto campus.

  3. MarketMan says:

    Matt: I agree. $275k seems fairly low. Also, the agreement to help and encourage SHS students could be very useful if they put a sincere effort to really help. It’s hard to know if it is just political or if people with passion will actually work on helping SHS students.

    Jim: I agree in theory, but wouldn’t they need to acquire property to build more dorms?

  4. Jim says:

    They’ve got space on their campus. Its pretty big. There are several places where they could tear down older/smaller buildings and put up larger dorms. They could expand existing dorms, etc. If they had to, they could find space.

    The City of Boston has been forcing BC, BU, and Northeastern to build more housing. Despite tight urban campuses, they’ve all found space for more dorms.

  5. Somerbreeze says:

    As Ritepride has previously pointed out, Tufts gets more than its share of city services at taxpayer expense. And West Somerville residents get the loud late-night parties, overcrowding, vandalism, disruptions and general hooliganism from Tufts students…

    $275,000 a year from Tufts is truly laughable. City Hall just doesn’t want to make Tufts pay its real fair share. So, somebody (guess who) is getting something (guess what) somewhere (guess where).

  6. Pixie Pocohontas says:

    The aldermen need to look at what Cambridge and Boston universities give back to the cities which they own property. MIT and Harvard donate over $10 million every year.

    Tufts address is 02155. Let them go campus sprawl into Medford.
    They use our fire and police for free as well.
    No land banking and no more Somerville real estate should be granted. I would also question conflict of interest alliances by one alderman at large who does not have Somerville residents interests.

    Another underhanded tactic to force landlords to sell to developers for more condos. Dirty politics once again.

  7. ritepride says:

    Last year there were several pedestrians hit by cars at Packard & Powderhouse. Tufts repaired sidewalks by the campus, created handicap access by lowering curbs at intersections. Alderman Trane suggessted that Tufts do likewise at Packard & Powderhouse but was getting opposition from Tufts but Alderman Trane had continued meetings and this week Tufts is paying for the improvements at Packard & Powderhouse due to Alderman Trane’s hard work. Fact is that more than 90% of the pedestrian traffic at this location is in fact Tufts students or personnel walking to the TAB building (old Western Jr. High that Tufts got from the city for $1.00).

    The 5 year partnership agreement is a start, a very small start for a University that has profit making subsidiaries and billion+ endowments.
    This opens the door for Tufts to make an honest commitment to make big increases in PILOT payments (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) and cease buying up residential properties that convert toTax Exempt status. Halfway houses owned by organizations like Harvard also get tax exempt status. The BOA needs to pass a moratorium stopping anymore Tax Exempt status properties in Somerville. Tax exempt properties will be nearing 60% of total land in the city when the GLX comes into the city. No municipality should have more than 25% of its total land in tax exempt status. Somerville need to reduce the total down to 25% of its total land.

    Congressman Capuano needs to join with some other members of congress who filed legislation to end the “Dover Amendment” which gives tax exempt status to colleges, schools, universities. The free ride must end for these institutions.

  8. 7-3 says:

    The immediate area around the campus is doomed to be a student slum unless the greenline changes the demographics to a more affluent resident. We have two possibilities really, more students or more well heeled condo owners. Having lived here since the early 60’s I now prefer the yuppies that buy a 400k two bedroom condo as opposed the absentee landlords that stuff the houses full of students and collect 6-8k a month and do almost no maintenance to their properties. Tufts needs to tell the community what the plans are for their enrollment for the next 20-40 years since both the university and the city will still be here. If they plan on expanding their enrollment at the current pace you will not likely have any fulltime homeowners here by the end of that time frame. Remember the absentee landlords are only buying these houses because they have customers that want to rent them.

  9. JPM says:

    I have to say that $1.37 million over 5 years is really a paltry amount when you consider how much money Tufts has. And as Matt points out, whne you compare it to what Joe Bloggs pays in real estate taxes…well, it’s daylight robbery.

  10. Tufts has been using the same promise of allowing Somerville students to attend, but they need to be well prepared both academically and socially. I took classes as an employee and it was challenging. I watched many bright inner city students leave after a short time because the culture shock was really difficult for them. It would be great to see a high percentage of Somerville High graduates be able to earn a degree at Tufts, but there is a lot of preparation which needs to go into passing the admissions process.

    It’s still not enough to give to the city. We should demand they not continue to put up phony RE fronts to buy homes for faculty and student housing. They should use their own existing buildings as one poster pointed out. I also agree that absentee landlords should not be able to rent to students. It also will put a strain on good landlords who depend on student rentals so they can continue to live in their homes. Many homeowners bought into the first wave of housing investments pushed by the fraud mortgage lenders and cohorts who promised a “get rich quick” venture. They still have mortgages to pay for many updates Realtors convinced them would pay off in the long run. Once that renter inventory is gone, people will be forced to sell. Not all of us depend on student renters, luckily, there are enough of the college graduate professional worker who will rent with two or more roommates. And we certainly don’t need any more late night party house antics keeping neighbors up all night. I didn’t sign up to be the neighborhood housemaster.

  11. ritepride says:

    “7-3” ‘Tufts’} “If they plan on expanding their enrollment at the current pace you will not likely have any fulltime homeowners”. When the Citizens Zoning Board did the study on Tufts vs neighborhood back in the 80’s Tuft’s Master Plan was just that…Take over entire city blocks for Tufts future expansion. They had aerial photos showing neighborhoods from Powderhouse Square to Alewife Brook Pkwy, Holland St to top of Curtis St. etc. There are several Real Estate Cos. that ‘front’ for Tufts to acquire taxable residential properties for Tufts then properties become tax exempt. City official never seem to have a problem with this, yet if you dont mow your grass or cover your barrel they’ll zap you with a fine.

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