Washington State University is set to launch Cougs Rise, a unique high school-to-college bridge program, thanks to two grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

Cougs Rise is the latest Student Success Initiative out of the Office of the Provost. The grants, totaling $2.6 over five years, will fund the program, which is designed for incoming first-year students who are low-income and/or first-generation. Cougs Rise will serve at least 120 students each year and will build on existing partnerships with five high schools in Washington: Bremerton, Hudson’s Bay (Vancouver), Rogers (Spokane), University (Spokane Valley), and Wenatchee.

Cougs Rise will begin with outreach in the high schools to assist students in college preparation and prepare them for the transition to college. About 80 students will participate in the summer program, which will help them build a network of resources, develop a sense of belonging, engage in academic coursework, and take part in other high-impact practices that support long-term success.

“The jump from high school to college can be daunting, particularly for first-generation students,” says Michael Highfill, Director of Student Success Initiatives, who authored the grant proposal. “Cougs Rise will offer these students a head start in college by giving them tools to succeed, and also preparing them for the academic and personal challenges they could face in college.”

Searches for a director and additional staff will begin this summer with a project start date set for Sept. 1, 2017.

For more information on Cougs Rise, please contact Highfill at michael.highfill@wsu.edu.