Research: Summer bridge programs can help students succeed in college

14 May

In Helping community college students to graduate moi said:

Going to a community college is one way to reduce the cost of college.

The Lumina Foundation provides the following statistics:

  • Forty-six percent are 25 or older, and 32 percent are at least 30 years old. The average age is 29.

  • Fifty-eight percent are women.

  • Twenty-nine percent have annual household incomes less than $20,000.

  • Eighty-five percent balance studies with full-time or part-time work. More than half (54 percent) have full-time jobs.

  • Thirty percent of those who work full time also attend classes full time (12 or more credit hours). Among students 30-39 years old, the rate climbs to 41 percent.

  • Minority students constitute 30 percent of community college enrollments nationally, with Latino students representing the fastest-growing racial/ethnic population.

Source: The American Association of Community Colleges, based on material in the National Profile of Community Colleges:Trends & Statistics, Phillippe & Patton, 2000.

Many of those attending community college will need a variety of assistance to be successful in their academic career.

Caralee J. Adams has written the Education Week article, Colleges Offer Incoming Freshmen a Summer ‘Bridge.’

“Summer bridge programs can provide an important head start on college,” said Elisabeth Barnett, a senior research associate at Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Community College Research Center in New York. “They can increase the chances that students will enter college without needing remediation, and they can help students to gain comfort with the college environment and with themselves as college students.”

Such programs, which tend to run four to five weeks, offer intensive academic instruction. At-risk students are often recruited, and colleges generally pick up the tab as an enticement.

Students can come for the day or, at some institutions, live in the dorms. In developmental programs, classes focus on mathematics or English. Other campuses allow students to take a broader range of courses. Almost all find providing “college knowledge” through peer mentors is a valuable way to help students feel more confident about the transition to campus….

Participating in the summer programs did not lead to higher enrollment or better long-term persistence, but Ms. Barnett said they are beneficial, and schools should build on them with supports in the freshman year and beyond.

There is an increased need for remediation for the broader swath of students enrolling in college, including those who are the first generation of their families to attend, said David Hawkins, the director of public policy and research for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, or NACAC, in Arlington, Va.

“This creates a significant demand for pathways that feed into the college pipeline that allow students the time and knowledge to catch up to others who were born into families who had gone to college and were exposed to that culture,” he said.

A new NACAC survey found that 57 percent of colleges have some type of provisional-admission program, and of those, 23 percent had a summer bridge program. Other NACAC research of camp colleges (a form of summer bridge) also reported better persistence and outcomes among participants.

“It seems like we are at a breaking point on cost and remediation,” Mr. Hawkins said. “It gives reason for colleges to want to open their doors earlier.”

Recruitment Issues

Nationwide, about 40 percent of all traditional-age college students at two- and four-year colleges take a remedial course, and about 60 percent of incoming community college students are deemed not ready in at least one core subject—math, reading, or writing.

The National Center for Postsecondary Research has published a report, Getting Ready for College: An Implementation and Early Impacts Study of Eight Texas Developmental Summer Bridge Programs written by Heather D. Wathington, Elisabeth A. Barnett, Evan Weissman, Jedediah Teres, Joshua Pretlow and Aki Nakanishi.


In 2007, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) funded 22 colleges to establish developmental summer bridge programs. Aimed at providing an alternative to traditional developmental education, these programs involve intensive remedial instruction in math, reading, and/or writing and college preparation content for students entering college with low basic skills. In 2009, the National Center for Postsecondary Research (NCPR) launched an evaluation of eight developmental summer bridge programs in Texas (seven at community colleges and one at an open-admissions four-year university), the

early findings of which are described in this report. Students who participated in the study were randomly assigned to the program group or the control group. Program group students participated in the developmental summer bridge programs, while control group students received colleges’ regular services. All developmental summer bridge programs had four common features: accelerated instruction in math, reading, and/or writing; academic support; a “college knowledge” component; and the opportunity for participants to receive a $400 stipend.

The main findings of this preliminary report are:

All eight programs in the study were implemented with reasonable

fidelity to the model framed by the THECB, but they varied on some

key dimensions.

Program costs averaged about $1,300 per student but varied widely.

Program group students did not enroll in either the fall or spring

semester at significantly different rates than control group students;

enrollment rates were high for both groups.

There is evidence that the program students were more likely to pass

college-level courses in math and writing in the fall semester following

the summer programs. The findings also suggest that program students

were more likely to attempt higher level reading, writing, and math

courses compared with control group students.

In Producing employable liberal arts grads, moi said:

One of the goals of education is to give the student sufficient basic skills to be able to leave school and be able to function at a job or correctly assess their training needs. One of the criticisms of the current education system is that it does not adequately prepare children for work or for a career.


New report takes community colleges to task

Producing employable liberal arts grads

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

2 Responses to “Research: Summer bridge programs can help students succeed in college”


  1. Studies: Colleges don’t accurately assess which students need remedial courses | drwilda - February 26, 2013

    […] Research: Summer bridge programs can help students succeed in college                                                          […]

  2. Lumina Foundation study: Many students fail to complete college with the six year study period | drwilda - December 19, 2013

    […] Research: Summer bridge programs can help students succeed in college […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: