The Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange
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Norman, OK 73072

Phone: 405-325-2158
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updated: 08/22/07

Project CHEER: A Simple and Effective Summer Bridge Program
presented by Jon Young, Fayetteville State University

Date of webinar: January 16, 2008

Materials are now available for this webinar. Click here to view the materials.


The CHEER Program was established at Fayetteville State University in the summer of 2002 to 1) strengthen participants’ academic readiness for the first year, 2) help students adjust to university life and expectations, and 3) foster the development of habits essential to academic success. Since 2002, the CHEER Program has undergone significant transformations based on evaluations of the previous years. The number of participants has grown from eleven in 2002 to 152 in 2007. Non-credit experiences have been replaced with credit-bearing courses, to include, in 2007 three hours of English, three hours of mathematics, and one hour in physical education. While the program was originally non-residential, in 2007 the program required all students to live on campus as a means of increasing the amount of time students would devote to academic support, supervised study, and co-curricular activities.

Since the inception of the program, CHEER participants have regularly outperformed their non-CHEER counterparts in terms of retention rates, hours earned, and GPAs, even though CHEER participants typically have lower high school GPAs and SAT scores than other students. The CHEER Program provides strong evidence that highly structured programs of instruction and academic support have a profoundly positive impact on the college readiness of students who would otherwise be at risk of attrition.

FSU’s CHEER Program also suggests two important limitations. First, a summer bridge program should not be seen as the single solution for improving retention. Summer bridge programs must be aligned with various support programs for first year students. Second, a summer bridge is not appropriate for all students. Campuses must strive to identify students who are not so well prepared that the bridge program is not necessary and those whose preparation is inadequate to the rigor and speed of the program.




The Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange at the University of Oklahoma is a consortium of two-year and four-year institutions dedicated to achieving the highest levels of student success through collaboratively sharing data, knowledge, and innovation.

CSRDE is a sponsored activity of the Center for Institutional Data Exchange and Analysis at

The University of Oklahoma Outreach
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