Summer 2015 marked the start of an innovative Summer Tuition Waiver Program at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York (BMCC/CUNY), that offers six types of vouchers and is specific to the needs of BMCC students as they strive to complete their degrees.
Over 8,300 students attended BMCC in Summer 2015, and almost a third of those participated in the tuition waiver program, using vouchers to pay for one class in one or both summer sessions. More good news is that the pass rate for students using the tuition vouchers was an impressive 80%.
“Research shows us that students who take classes in the summer are more likely to persist and graduate than those who do not, as they continue to accumulate credits and maintain momentum,” said Karrin Wilks, Senior Vice President and Provost at BMCC.
“We established our Summer Tuition Waiver so that more students can take advantage of continuing their studies, given that traditional financial aid sources are often unavailable in the summer,” Wilks adds. “This is a unique BMCC program aimed at increasing student success.”
Plans are underway, she says, to continue the program and extend it to the Winter 2016 semester.
Different waivers for different needs
According to preliminary head counts from the BMCC Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, the largest group of students taking part in the Summer Tuition Waiver Program was comprised of those who used the STEM Waiver to pay for a science, Introduction to Psychology or credit-bearing math course.
The second largest group was students who had accrued at least 12 credits and took advantage of the Momentum Waiver. Coming in third was students who needed just one course to finish their degree, paying for it with the Completion Waiver.
New students taking advantage of the voucher program included those who completed the CUNY Start program in Spring 2015, and used the Jump Start Waiver for a credit-bearing summer course.
Other incoming freshmen, those with no remedial requirements, used the Acceleration Waiver to cover the cost of their first credit-bearing course, while the Developmental Waiver helped out students who had earned at least 30 credits and still needed to complete a developmental math, reading or writing class.
Saving money and graduating on track
Early Childhood Education major Nicholas Alexander used the STEM voucher to pay for his Introduction to Psychology class in Summer 2015, and earned an “A.”
“My mom told me about the waiver program,” he says. “She’s a professor at Brooklyn College and she pays my tuition out of pocket. My getting the voucher really made things easier for her over the summer.”
Samantha Perez used a voucher to pay for a credit-bearing internship, the only thing missing from her requirements to graduate with an associate degree in Multimedia Arts and Technology.
“I got a message in my BMCC student email that told me about the program,” she says. “I had financial aid but not in the summer. The voucher helped me a lot because I was able to graduate in the summer instead of having to wait for the fall to take the internship.”
Like Alexander, she earned an “A” in her voucher course. “Now I’m working and going to school for my bachelor’s degree at City Tech,” she says. “I just started this fall. I’m studying graphic design and working at an activewear company doing graphic design.”