Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence (PEOPLE) at UW-Madison

UW-Madison sophomore and mentor Roslyn Pedracine tutors second grader Patricia Blake during an after-school program at the Packer and Northport Community Learning Centers. (Photo: Jeff Miller/UWCommunications)

PEOPLE is a pre-college pipeline for students of color and low-income students, most of whom are the first in their families to potentially attend college. Their journey prepares them to apply, be successfully admitted and enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

PEOPLE accepts highly motivated students into a rigorous program to build study skills, explore and strengthen academic and career interests, and gain a positive experience on a world-class campus.

Who Participates?

PEOPLE currently serves students in the Madison, Milwaukee, Racine, and Waukesha public school districts, and the Ho–Chunk, Menominee, and Lac Courte Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau and Bad River Nations Indian Nations.

For Madison–area residents, the six–year program begins in the summer when students have completed the sixth grade and continues until the students have graduated from high school.

All other PEOPLE locations accept students when they are in ninth grade.

Priority for admission is given to students eligible for the free and reduced hot lunch program.

Upon graduation from high school, students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, who have been admitted to UW-Madison and who complete the Bridge–to–College Program will be eligible for a tuition scholarship for up to four years.


Educators know first grade is a critical year for literacy and fourth grade is important for mathematics. Students who get lost at these levels, particularly those who come from low-income families where parents are working long hours, may never catch up.

PEOPLE Prep is an expansion down the pipeline to reach children earlier with a focus on specific skills in reading, writing and math.

In the fall of 2005, the program began with 51 Madison elementary students and 12 UW tutors at the community learning centers for Northport Apartments and Packer Town Homes on Madison’s northeast side. The program is held after school for two hours, twice a week.

Tutors are elementary education students at UW-Madison. They help the children with homework,read to them and play skill-building games.

The program prepares children for eventual admission to the PEOPLE Middle School Program.

The PEOPLE pipeline moves in both directions. The oldest group of PEOPLE students now attends the UW on scholarship. They started in high school when the program first began in 1999, completed the requirements and qualified for admission.

Today they volunteer as mentors to the youngest students, establishing friendships, becoming pen pals and planning campus visits for PEOPLE Prep elementary children.