More students may stay on campus this summer due to university attempts to make Summer Term more accessible through scholarships and flexible courses.
The changes came in response to Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s speech to the UW System Board of Regents in February, in which she said Summer Term should be a priority.
Added online courses, as well as scholarships, will make it easier for individuals to advance their academics, according to Dean of Continuing Studies Jeffrey Russell.
Russell said the team that formed the new Summer Term worked on scholarship efforts with help from the Office of Student Financial Aid and have increased the amount of funding available for scholarships. Three years ago they awarded 25,000 scholarships, last year it was 250,000, and this summer they will distribute half a million in awards, according to Russell.
“We survey all the students in Summer Term every other year and one of the top things when they talk about what could improve summer is more scholarship funding, which would help to increase the likelihood that they could take advantage of summer,” Russell said.
A student advisory board has also been created, and Russell said this board has advocated strongly for more scholarship funding as well.
One specific new scholarship will allow spring semester transfer students to take a summer course. The team is also working with first-year students—they developed an early admit program, which gives these students the opportunity to take a course over the summer to orient themselves to campus.
Russell said they are hearing from students through surveys and other vehicles to provide them with what they want and need: a variety of courses as well as flexibility. He said many summer courses offer hands-on learning, particularly in classes that require field-based work.
This summer, they will offer more than 150 online courses, eight of which are new this term. He said this will allow students to make academic progress while engaging in other opportunities, like internships.
“We're trying to be student-centered and enable students to better utilize the summer and to reduce