Starting next fall, some Baton Rouge Community College students will have the opportunity to live on LSU campus as a part of the Tiger Bridge Program, according to BRCC and University officials.
The program is a collaboration between the two institutions that will take high school students who narrowly miss the admission criteria to be accepted to the University and enroll them in classes at BRCC for their freshman year. Those students will live in McVoy Hall on the University campus, and will be able to utilize several student facilities.
University and BRCC officials announced the details of the program Wednesday morning in the Dalton J. Woods Auditorium of the Energy, Coast and Environment Building.
After a one-year period, students will be able to make the transition to official University students beginning in their sophomore year without having to re-apply to the University.
Students will need to complete their first 30 credit hours at BRCC while maintaining a 2.5 or higher GPA.
“The goal is to help students find the additional support that they need for academics so that they can be successful as they transition toward that four-year degree,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management David Kurpius.
Students in the program will be required to attend mandatory tutoring sessions to ensure they are successful, he said.
The model the University is using is similar to successful national models that are present at colleges such as Clemson University, he said.
There will be 184 students enrolled in the program next fall, Kurpius said, and they will have access to many features available to a regular University student, such as dining halls, the Student Health Center and the ability to seek advice from the Center for Academic Success.
Students in the program will also have access to certain University-related sporting events, transfer admissions officer Heather Schmidt said.
Students can utilize the TOPS program for tuition and fees, but no official University scholarships can be used, Kurpius said. Financial aid information will go through BRCC for the first year and residential college fees will be paid to the University, he said.
According to a pamphlet released by University officials, resident tuition for students enrolled in the program will total $14,433, while non-resident tuition will total $18,297.
Prospective students will be contacted starting Monday and will have until May 1 to return applications, Kurpius said.
Kurpius said students are admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis. He said he expects a large waiting list because any high school student who is accepted into the program but ends up meeting the University standards before graduation will be admitted, and their position in the program will be replaced with a prospective student from the waiting list.
“One of the unique things about this bridge program is the fact that we have a reverse transfer of credit that has been embedded into this program,” said Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at BRCC Monique Cross.
Cross said after students complete 30 hours at BRCC and 30 hours at LSU, they will be eligible to receive an associate’s degree in their respective field while still pursuing a four-year degree.
Interim System President and Chancellor William “Bill” Jenkins said BRCC has been a success story that allows community college students to make a smooth transition to the University.
“That was always the goal,” he said.
President of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Joe May said the partnership between BRCC and the University is important because of its effort to focus on students and a change in the business environment.
“As recently as 1970, 75 percent of middle class jobs could be achieved with only a high school diploma,” May said. “We didn’t need that kind of pipeline we need today. Today, [that figure is] well below 40 percent and shrinking every single year.”