The University of California at San Diego doesn't just help a local school, it owns one. The Preuss School, on the UCSD campus, is the nation's first charter school created by a university and dedicated to serving poor minority students. Preuss has access to the resources of UCSD, such as its supercomputers and it's students, who volunteer to tutor at Preuss. The impetus for Preuss came in the wake of California's 1998 ban on affirmative action, which caused UCSD's minority enrollment to drop a quarter. The university looked to recruit minority students through the traditional methods--faculty visits, fancy websites and brochures--but had little faith that these efforts would yield much. So UCSD started from scratch, donating land worth $8 million and securing $13 million in private donations to build Preuss and prepare its prospective minority students. The state and local school district agreed to pay faculty salaries and operating expenses. The school opened in fall 1999 with 150 students, out of 500 who applied, all of whom are poor enough to qualify for subsidized lunches. BY 2004, Preuss will serve 700 students in grades six through twelve. Website: Excerpted from Time Magazine's ""Build It Yourself"", by Andrew Goldstein and reported by Jacqueline Savaiano. January 8, 2001