An Academic Redshirt Program in Washington State

imagesIt is common for universities to “redshirt” an athlete for a year so they can train them to compete at the collegiate level while the athlete continues to enjoy an additional four-years of eligibility for competition.

Now the University of Washington and Washington State University are initiating an academic redshirt program for low-income students who want to major in STEM fields. Under the redshirt program, entering students will take five years to complete their bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. The first-year students will acclimate to the academic rigors of the university. Extensive advising and counseling will be offered the students enrolled in the program. The program is targeted at students who are eligible for the federal Pell Grant program.

“More and more, we’re seeing students who are bright, but they’ve gone to a high school where the college preparation isn’t good,” said Bob Olsen, director of the reshirt program and an associate dean of engineering.

The first 64 students will enter the program this fall. The academic redshirt effort is funded by five-year grants of $970,000 to the University of Washington and $700,000 to Washington State University from the National Science Foundation.

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