PASS CS: Creating a Path to Achieving Success and Sense of Belonging in Computer Science


Photo of the PASS CS Team

Location: Boynton Hall
Office Location: 1st floor
Phone: 508-831-5222
Fax: 508-831-5774

The Path to Achieving Success and Sense of Belonging in Computer Science (PASS CS) is an NSF S-STEM scholarship program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The scholarship will support three cohorts (Class of 2028, 2029, and 2030) of 8-10 Computer Science (CS) undergraduate students (totaling 28 scholars and 112 scholarships). Each scholar is supported for four consecutive academic years at up to $15,000/year and part of a cohort immersed in several activities to support the transition to college, navigating WPI, and graduating with a Bachelor of Science from WPI.  

PASS-CS Grant will include 

  • Up to $15k scholarship covering unmet need (guaranteed for up to 4 years)  
  • A Two-Part Extended Orientation Program with early arrival 
    • PASS CS Cohort Mini-Bridge: Aug 7-10, 2024 
      • Developing Relationships: Focused on developing relationships with other students & faculty 
      • Academic Preparation: Goal setting, mentoring, and familiarity with the university 
    • Connections Program: Aug 10 – 17, 2024 
      • The Connections Program incorporates social engagement, academic success, and identity development opportunities that will ease the transition into the WPI community, encourage inclusive excellence, promote cultural competency, and provide academically focused support and resources.   
  • Enhanced mentoring & academic support during the Fall semester  

  • Students are registered together for the same set of courses (where applicable) 

  • Enhanced tutoring and near peer mentoring with older CS Students

  • Check-in events each term with professional development topics 

  • Additional support for research experiences, conference travel, etc. 
  • Continued support from grant personnel through all 4 years at WPI 


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I Apply?

Eligible students will receive an email from the Office of Financial Aid notifying them that they are eligible to apply for the PASS CS Scholarship program. We expect this notification to go to students May 3-10, 2024. Eligible students must complete a short application indicating their interest in participating in the program. This application is due May 19, 2024. The review committee will make decisions and notify the awardees the week of May 28-31, 2024  

Must you enroll in WPI before learning about eligibility for the PASS CS Program?

Yes, this program is only available to students after they indicate their commitment to attend WPI. We are looking for students who have committed to WPI and are interested in studying computer science.

How do you know if you are Pell eligible?

Pell eligibility rules are set by the federal government. Once all prospective students have decided and deposited (May 1) our Financial Aid office will identify those who are eligible for Federal Pell grants, and they will notify students of their eligibility for this program (based on intended major). In that notification, there will be a link to apply to this scholarship program.

What happens after I submit my application?

After the Grant Application deadline (May 19) we will review the applications and notify students. Students will agree to participate in the program (via an electronic form). We are only accepting 10 students into the program each year, but we are committed to working with them throughout their time at WPI.

When do I meet the students and faculty in the program?

If you are accepted into the PASS CS Program We hope you will attend the June 13, 2024 New Student Welcome Event where the PASS CS cohort will have break out sessions for students and families.

Will there be an orientation?

Yes. A traditional bridge program invites students to campus early for team building, orienting activities, and introduction to campus. The PASS CS program has combined two types of bridge programs: 

The Mini Bridge Program will take place from August 7th to August 10th, 2024. PASS CS scholars will live on campus and participate in a variety of classes, activities and events with their cohort of PASS CS students. They will have the opportunity to speak with team professors, students and alumni as well as form relationships with their fellow scholars. 

After the Mini-Bridge program the scholars will join the Connections Program, a week long  program from August 10 - 17, 2024, focused on community building, resource orientation, and developing comfort in this new environment. Follow the link to learn more about the Connections program.

Where do I find more information on the Computer Science major?

Please use the link to learn more about the Computer Science program.

What if I am accepted to PASS CS and then decide to change majors?

In order to participate in the PASS CS Scholarship Program, students must be major Computer Science (or a closely related major). 

Will there be special programming/activities for the cohort throughout the year?

The PASS CS Program is focused on building connections between students and their professors. So, the Mini-bridge program will be led by a team of faculty who teach first year class in Computer Science, Math, and Physics. We’re scheduling twice a week drop-in session where these faculty as well as near-peer tutors will be available to help with academic questions, or just connect with students throughout the first semester.

We will also schedule participants together (where applicable) into courses taught by these faculty (and others) in order to foster supportive relationships and build community.

In the Spring Semester, we are also planning events focusing on academic, career, and professional development opportunities. The program will cover your entire time at WPI. We hope to provide students with resources, connections, and opportunities that will enhance their WPI experience.

Important Dates



May 1, 2024 

WPI Application Deadline 

May 6-10, 2024 

Notification of Eligibility for PASS CS 

May 14, 2024 

Q & A Webinar 

May 19, 2024 

PASS CS Application Deadline 

May 28-31, 2024 

Award Notifications 

June 13, 2024 

New Student Welcome Event 

August 7 – 10, 2024 

Mini Bridge 

August 10 – 17, 2024 


August 18-21, 2024

WPI New Student Orientation 

August 22, 2024 

First day of Classes 


A Zoom Q&A Webinar for students and families is scheduled for May 14, 2024. This is a chance to talk to the program leadership and faculty about the program. 

We suggest that PASS CS awardees plan to attend the June 13, 2024 - New Student Welcome Event. We will have a breakout session for students and parents. 


Grant Leadership Team:
Co-PI: Debra Boucher, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies
Senior Personnel: Kathy Chen, Exec Director STEM Education