Return to Program Profiles St. Edward’s University

The CIC/Walmart College Success Award has enabled St. Edward’s University, a Hispanic-serving institution, to implement a four-week summer Bridge to College Success (BTCS). The program was offered to students with demonstrated financial need who had SAT/ACT scores that indicated a need for developmental coursework. Most of these students were children of migrant workers.
The program began with pre-tests to identify each student’s specific learning needs. Participants benefitted from group instruction, one-on-one tutoring, and an orientation to the campus. They received intensive academic instruction from university faculty members in English writing, reading, mathematics, and study skills. A typical program day included 4.5 hours of facilitated instruction, several hours of individual tutoring, and peer coaching as needed. Participants also were introduced to the campus environment. All first-year student participants received free room and board, academic supplies, a small personal living allowance, and a travel stipend. To offset lost wages during the month they participated in the bridge program, students who completed the program were given a stipend of $500. The program was staffed by senior first-generation students who received compensation for their participation in the program.
Evening and weekend enrichment activities included movie nights, visits to area museums and cultural institutions, recreational activities, and trips to parks. They also participated in a service project.
Once students were enrolled in the fall semester, they were placed in a reading course linked to the required Freshman Studies lecture course as well as continued supplemental instruction and tutoring.

Program Outcomes

Pre- and post-testing scores indicated that the curriculum of the bridge program was effective and, as a result, most of the students in both cohorts (2009 and 2010) were not required to take developmental courses during their first year at the university. For the 2009 cohort, 100 percent earned a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, reflecting improved academic performance for the targeted student population of migrant worker children. The program also succeeded in increasing retention rates.

Program Updates

The 2010 program was expanded to five weeks with 23 students, and the 2011 program was expanded to six weeks. College officials report that the Bridge helped them to realize how large the preparation gap was for the targeted first-generation students.
A TG Public Benefit Grant of $105,000 provided lead funding for the 2011 Bridge program and scholarships.