Jump Starting Education: YSU develops summer programs to assist incoming freshmen

Youngstown State University has developed a new summer program called Jump Start — an initiative for incoming freshmen that could help students bypass developmental courses and save money.

Jump Start offers six-week math and English courses that meet twice a week. The courses are designed for new students who have been placed into developmental classes — classes that do not count toward a student’s graduation credits but must be completed in order to move onto introductory English and math classes.

It costs just $300 to enroll in Jump Start — as opposed to the $1,100 cost to enroll in a developmental course in the fall.

Sharon Schroeder, assistant director of the YSU Metro Credit Educational Outreach Department, helped develop Jump Start. She said the program will benefit incoming students by saving them both time and money.

“Now their fall financial aid is going toward classes that count toward graduation. … They also save time. Successfully completing the program allows students to enroll for English 1550 and/or required math for their major in the fall, instead of taking a semester of classes that they need, based on their placement, but don’t count in their total hours for graduation,” Schroeder said in an email. “It is a win-win for the student.”

Betty Licata, dean of the Williamson College of Business Administration, also spearheaded the creation of Jump Start. She indicated that many students placed into developmental classes “really just need a bit of a refresher.”

“This program is designed for those who are ‘on the bubble.’ If they go through the Jump Start program, they should be ready for college-level courses in the fall,” Licata said.

While Jump Start benefits participating students, Licata said the program could also positively impact the university.

“Anything we can do to help students begin with college level courses, succeed in college and complete degrees is good for the university,” she said.

Ronald Chordas, associate provost for University Outreach and executive director of the Public Service Institute at YSU, agreed with Licata and said successfully completing Jump Start could encourage students to move forward with their college education.

“If you can help the students succeed during the earlier times, then they’re going to stay longer. If they pass the developmental courses — a few of them — in the summer, it motivates them to take more in the fall,” Chordas said. “And they are also taking classes that are more applicable to what they are interested in.”

The deadline to enroll in Jump Start is April 15.  Both the English and math summer Jump Start class have a maximum capacity of 25 students.