WKU receives $200,000 CPE grant to support summer scholars
Western Kentucky University will receive a $200,000 grant to support its summer scholarship program.
The Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education announced last week that 29 programs at 25 Kentucky colleges and universities will receive grants of up to $200,000 each, totaling $3.5 million, to support college transition programs. focused on improving college readiness and retention.
WKU’s Summer Bridge Program, called the Summer Scholarship Program, is a five-week summer bridging program for incoming freshmen who have an unweighted high school GPA between 2.0 and 2.49. Participants move to campus early, complete six hours of college credit, and receive one-on-one support to help them prepare for college.
“The Summer Scholarship Program provides students with access and opportunity to pursue higher education with little to no financial cost,” said Christopher Jensen, WKU Assistant Vice President for Student Success. “Students who successfully completed the program demonstrated an increased level of perseverance and retention at WKU. The program truly reflects the mission and value of Western Kentucky University in ensuring that students enrolled at WKU have the opportunity and means to succeed and graduate.
In addition to the CPE grant, WKU received a $40,000 grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. For summer 2022, the program will expand to allow an additional 60 students to enroll in the program to take an additional math course before the fall semester. Overall, Summer Fellows are expected to serve approximately 160 students this summer, and there is no limit to the number of participating students who have a high school GPA of 2.0 to 2.49.
Grant funds will support the intentional design of the summer scholarship program to maximize student benefits, while minimizing student disbursements. Students receive tuition for two summer courses (six credit hours that count toward graduation), on-campus housing for five weeks, 10 on-campus meals per week, all required textbooks, a summer membership to the Preston Health & Activities Center, social programs, and access to all supportive services and resources on campus. To help prevent a prohibitive financial barrier, these resources are provided at minimal or no cost to the student. Specifically, grant funding will provide faculty to teach, student tutors and mentors, textbooks and supplies, scholarships, learning and social activities, and meals.
“The Summer Scholars Program contributes to WKU’s efforts to close the gap in college completion metrics,” Jensen said. “This creates an opportunity for the University to help students achieve academic success and foster connections to the campus community and Bowling Green through out-of-class learning experiences and planned social activities.”
The second round of grants distributed by the CPE allows WKU to continue this important work with another cohort of students. Last year, WKU received a $100,000 grant from CPE for the Summer Scholarship Program, which served 88 students. CPE awarded $1.5 million to 21 summer transition programs in 2021.
“The transition from high school and the first year of college are critical and sometimes very trying times for students,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “Students need academic and social-emotional support to stay engaged, have a positive experience, and graduate. These programs provide the resources they need to succeed.
Summer transition programs strive to help students transition into college or stay enrolled for their sophomore year. They may provide social and emotional resources, academic, career, or financial counseling, time management or study skills training, crash courses, or similar supports.
The grants are part of the second round of funding for the Governor’s Education Emergency Relief Fund, known as GEER II, which aims to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Funds for GEER II were made available through the federal CARES Act. The grants were also funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and obtained through the Kentucky Department of Education.
The Council awarded the grants through a competitive process based on specific criteria to increase the number of students benefiting from face-to-face programs, reduce performance gaps in college course completion, and increase rates retention from fall to spring, resulting in improved graduation rates.
Contact: Christopher Jensen, (270) 745-5065