Saturday, May 9, 2015

Santander and Bridgewater State Expand Educational Opportunities for Local Middle School Students in Gateway Cities

Bridgewater State University and Santander Bank, N.A. announced today an agreement where the Bank’s Santander Universities will support the University’s Bridge Partnership Program, a residential summer program on the University campus for middle school students in the gateway cities of New Bedford, Brockton, and Boston.

Starting this summer, Santander will support the Bridgewater State University Foundation to broaden the base of educational outreach services provided by the University for the Bridge Program. Santander’s support will expand the number of students participating in the program over the next three years.

The brainchild of BSU President Dana Mohler-Faria, Bridge is a two-week residential program that has brought 500 middle school students to campus over the past three summers to experience college life. Students live in a university residence hall, take courses with BSU faculty and education majors as well as their own teachers; and tour educational, cultural and historic sites across Massachusetts.

“By collaborating with Bridgewater, we are investing in the future of these students,” said Roman Blanco, CEO of Santander Bank, N.A. “This program enables young students to experience first-hand what it’s like to be a college student, while emphasizing the importance of education. We hope the students who participate in this summer program are inspired to excel in the classroom when they return to school in the fall. ”

In addition to supporting the Bridge Partnership, Santander will also fund the new Santander Study Abroad Scholarship program at Bridgewater to increase student participation in expanded study or student teaching abroad opportunities.

BSU students will be selected as Santander Scholars on a semi-annual basis with eligibility being weighed by the degree of their documented financial need. Depending on other available aid sources, each Santander Scholar will be awarded $1,000 to $2,500.

“Providing and expanding educational opportunity in the region has always been central to the mission of Bridgewater State University,” Dr. Mohler-Faria said. “Whether it’s exposing first-in-family students to the college experience through our Bridge Program or providing a global perspective via study abroad, our new partnership with Santander enables us to expand our outreach efforts thereby enabling more students to experience life-changing educational opportunities.”

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