MADISON — The University of Wisconsin System will provide summer learning assistance to 1,400 additional incoming freshmen this year, more than doubling the number of admitted students receiving help through campus-based summer bridge programs.

Summer bridge programs are critical to ensuring that high school graduates make a successful transition to university. While program details and offerings differ at each university, many of them have core areas in common, including academic skill-building, career exploration, mentoring, and student health and wellness.

Summer bridge programs are now even more important for incoming students who have had to endure academic, financial and emotional challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. UW System is seeding the expansion of summer bridge programs across the state with an initial $1.3 million investment in these campus programs. The UW System will seek reimbursement with state revenue or federal COVID-19 relief funds and ongoing support for this expanded program.

“Student success is critical to the UW System, and our work starts even before students step foot on campus,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson in a news release. “Wisconsin’s high school seniors have demonstrated remarkable resilience as the pandemic has presented additional challenges. We will be there to help those who need it this fall and in the coming years.”

In 2020, Wisconsin’s public universities assisted 1,189 students in their transitions to college. The proposed expansion would provide support to an additional 1,410 students.