Bengal Bridge provides college credits to new high school graduates at a reduced cost
February 9, 2017
POCATELLO – After spending the summer on Idaho State University’s campus, freshman Ethan Moore felt ready to take on the challenge of campus life.
Moore is one of 89 students who participated in ISU’s Bengal Bridge program during summer 2016.
Bengal Bridge is a seven-week college semester held in the summer for recently graduated high school seniors with a major benefit – tuition is only $65 per credit hour.
Students earn nine-10 college credits over the course of the program, including both general education courses and specific classes that count toward their degrees.
Moore said his overall experience with Bengal Bridge was a positive one.
“It was really helpful to learn about the campus months before the fall semester began,” Moore said. “I was able to meet new and exciting people and establish relationships that will stay with me for a lifetime.”
Moore said a high level of caring was shown by both the teachers and the students, and that he was able to learn a great deal from his instructors and classmates.
“The thing that stood out to me the most was how Bengal Bridge helped me develop as a student and prepare for college, and I’ll always be thankful for that,” Moore said. “I’ve already recommended Bridge to future freshmen.”
Misty Prigent, an instructor and academic coach for Bengal Bridge, said that the program has a number of objectives in place to help new students succeed.
“Bengal Bridge’s primary goals are encouraging more high school students to go to college, to provide a solid start for incoming freshmen, and to help students get credits toward their degree sooner,” Prigent said.
Anna Curet, another student who participated in Bengal Bridge during summer 2016, said that she greatly enjoyed being a part of the program.
“My experience with Bridge was amazing,” Curet said. “I made a lot of friends and got a great jump start to the college experience and college classes.”Curet also said that the environment Bengal Bridge provided was very helpful.
“I really benefitted from having more one-on-one time to talk to professors about materials we covered in class as well as having a more fast-paced learning environment,” Curet said.
Prigent also cited the reduced tuition as a major asset for Bengal Bridge participants. The standard cost of tuition for nine credits is $3,132, while it is only $585 for Bengal Bridge students, resulting in $2,547 worth of savings.
There are a number of factors that can help a student qualify for the Bengal Bridge program. Some of these include: low family income, high SAT/ACT scores, being a first generation student, disability status, and citizenship status.
Bengal Bridge is currently accepting applications, and it is recommended that students apply before Feb. 15, which is the deadline for many important scholarships at ISU. However, students can continue to apply to the program until April 1. Prigent also reminds current applicants that if they want to apply for Bengal Bridge’s summer 2017 semester, they should make their ISU application for the summer rather than the fall. Like a traditional college semester, federal student aid can be used to pay for costs associated with the program.
Prigent said that being involved in the Bengal Bridge program is very rewarding.
“Every year, I see so many of our past students around campus involved in leadership roles and competitive programs, and they always tell me they could not have done it without Bridge,” Prigent said.