LSU and BRCC to collaborate

High school students who apply to LSU, but miss the cut for admission, will have a chance to live on the campus and participate in university activities starting this fall through the Tiger Bridge collaboration with Baton Rouge Community College.

The two schools will officially announce the plan at a Wednesday morning news conference.

Students who qualify for the invite-only program will take classes at BRCC but will live together on LSU’s campus in a “residential living and learning center.” They will attend mandatory meetings with counselors, work with tutors and study with other students in their cohort groups.

Students who successfully complete 15 credits per semester during their first school year, while maintaining a 2.5 grade-point average, will be automatically transferred to LSU for their second year without having to fill out an application or pay any additional fees.

Once a student who has “bridged” over to LSU successfully completes 60 credits, then LSU will “reverse transfer” those credits to BRCC. The student will be awarded an associate degree from the community college while continuing on their path to a four-year degree at LSU.

Tiger Bridge mirrors a number of different programs around the country that make it a priority to get promising young students on college campuses even if their high school grades or test scores lag behind their peers.

Students who participate in similar programs have been found to have more success than the average student and graduate at a higher rate than a typical freshman class.

David Kurpius, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, said programs like Tiger Bridge teach students how to “do college.”

“You have a lot of students who didn’t have to study that hard in high school or never had anybody help them become more academically efficient,” Kurpius said. “They need to learn good habits and learn to be much more self-directed.”

Toward the middle of March, LSU will extend invitations to about 200 of the highest-performing students who couldn’t get into the university through the normal enrollment process.

“Once the invitations go out, acceptance of the invite will be on a first-come, first-served basis,” Kurpius said. “Students who qualify better act on it ... we’re expecting the wait-list will have quite a bit of motion.”

Kurpius explained that students will be considered BRCC students but will have access to LSU’s library, health center and recreational center and also will be allowed to participate in different campus organizations.

Monique Cross, BRCC’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, called Tiger Bridge “hugely beneficial” to students.

“This gives them additional options,” she said. “This is an alternate path students can take to get to LSU and they will also be able to earn an associate degree.”

Cross added that the program will also benefit both schools as they try to meet state standards that tie portions of their funding to degree completion rates.

“In the past, we had students who would come to BRCC
and leave early. We couldn’t count them toward our completion rate,” she said.
“Now we get credit through the reverse transfer agreement.”

BRCC and LSU will formally launch the Tiger Bridge program at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the LSU School of Coast and Environment.