RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College has several new opportunities for students as well as the community this summer. This will include a Summer Bridge Program sponsored by a collaboration grant between Rio, Shawnee State University and Southern State Community College. Rio President Dr. Michelle Johnston said she is excited to work with Rio’s partner institutions to offer new educational opportunities to Southeastern Ohio.
“The overall mission of this grant is to promote academic excellence and economic efficiency in our state. We are excited to work with our fellow institutions to provide new and exciting services to our potential students and our communities throughout the summer,” Johnston said. “This collaboration provides an opportunity for these institutions to jointly develop best practices that can then be scaled by other institutions in Ohio.”
Rio’s role in the grant is comprised of hosting two programs over the summer. The first program is a free weeklong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Camp for incoming freshmen. The camp is designed to reinforce core concepts and foundational skills for students with an interest in STEM careers. Students will also have the opportunity to learn more about STEM from guest speakers working in a variety of the career fields. The second program Rio will lead is a Gateway to Workforce program allowing those who have tested into one or more remedial courses to take a cohort of classes designed to give students the best opportunity for a successful academic start while promoting career readiness. Tuition, fees, and books as well as some incidental expenses will be covered through the Bridge Grant. Not only will the Bridge Grant cover the costs of these courses, enrolling in other summer classes at Rio will be easier than previous years because the Pell Grant, based on estimated family contribution determined by FAFSA, now includes opportunities for year-round financial aid. Director of Financial Aid Meghann Fraley said these new opportunities will help students finish their degree program on track or sooner than anticipated.
“The way the Pell Grant was set up allowed the students to receive up to $5,920 for the entire year, so students who were full-time during the fall and spring semesters missed out on the chance to use the grant during the summer. The Department of Education changed this last summer to allow students taking six or more credit hours in the summer who used their eligibility for the fall and spring to have a third term of additional Pell Grant funds for those classes. Because we do have programs that require year round classes, we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for those students to fund their summer courses. The revision to the Pell Grant will allow them to finish their programs and take out fewer student loans,” Fraley said. “This grant is free federal aid for anyone who is Pell Eligible, so the new summer funds are a great opportunity for students to get prerequisite or general courses out of the way and focus on their core classes during the fall and spring.”
Rio has also introduced several new opportunities within its degree programs this summer. Two of these include the Emerson E. Evans School of Business’s Small Business Management Certificate program being available in an online format, and the School of Arts and Letters Intro to Film course is now being offered during the summer. The film class allows students to learn more about the inner workings of filmmaking such as cinematography, editing, narrative, directorial intent and other basic building blocks of film. The class is one of the required courses for the Associate Degree in English. This will also be the first year the Small Business Management Certificate program, which consists of five courses, will be offered fully online. School of Business Faculty Chair Dr. Jason Winters said the certificate program allows students and aspiring entrepreneurs to build a foundation of business knowledge.
“The Small Business Management Certificate program is a great way for potential students to determine if business is the right career field for them. It’s a bit of a teaser program that covers a little of every side of running a business from management, project management, delegation and accounting as examples, so they will get a taste of all the opportunities our business programs have to offer. All of the courses required for the certificate are also required for our undergraduate degrees, so taking them in this format over the summer will also allow students looking to obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree to get some of their earlier courses out of the way before the fall semester begins,” Winters said. “This is also a great opportunity for small business owners or community members interested starting a business to get a solid foundation in business or to refresh their knowledge to stay on the cutting edge of the industry. The online format makes it easier for them to balance their working professional schedule with taking these courses.”
For more information on the Bridge Grant programs or summer courses offered at Rio, contact the Office of Admissions at 740-245-7208.