Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

2024 Summer Bridge Program Seed Grants

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is soliciting proposals from Kentucky’s public universities, the 16 Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) campuses and the member institutions of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) for seed grants of up to $10,000 to support summer bridge programs focused on supporting the transition to postsecondary and promoting first year college success. Based upon availability of funding and the number of requests, an additional $5,000 may be requested. Institutions interested in being considered for this additional funding, should it be available, should complete the budget addendum. These funds are made available to support new and/or existing efforts or expand the depth and scope of summer bridge program implementation efforts currently supported across the state. These funds should be considered seed funds to prepare for the institution's 2024 Summer Bridge Programming that will take place in the summer of 2024 or to support the transition of current first-year students in continuing their success. The Summer Bridge Program Grants are designed to support Kentucky students who are incoming first-year students.


CPE established an ambitious goal to raise the percentage of adults with a postsecondary degree or credential to 60% by the year 2030. Achieving this goal is critical if Kentucky hopes to remain economically competitive with surrounding states and attract more high-skill, high-wage employers. To accomplish this goal, CPE prioritizes the “creation of opportunities for historically underrepresented populations to have equal access to and participate in educational programs.” Intentional efforts to expand existing or develop new summer bridge programs will help achieve the Council’s goals, mitigate the on-going impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and make postsecondary education more accessible to Kentucky’s students.

Summer Bridge programming eases the transition to college and supports postsecondary success by providing students with the academic skills and social resources needed to succeed in a college environment. According to an external evaluation conducted by the Education Strategy Group (ESG), Kentucky’s summer bridge programs in 2021 and 2022 “have been found to increase summer-to-fall matriculation and fall-to-spring retention rates for participants in comparison to similar students who do not participate. Additionally, numerous qualitative benefits have been reported…such as feeling more comfortable on campus.”

The summer “bridge” period begins as students enter college, and may extend throughout the first academic year. Although the content of summer bridge programs can vary across institutions and by the population served, the summer activities typically last from one to six weeks and involve:

  1. an orientation to college life and resources
  2. academic and career advising
  3. training in skills necessary for college success
  4. accelerated academic coursework

Funding Opportunity

Funding is available from CPE through a partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. The priority must be to provide the academic support necessary to improve college success and completion rates through summer bridge program development and activities.

Program Outcomes

Proposals may include, but are not limited to, the following outcomes:

  1. Leadership development of student mentors
  2. Summer bridge staff development and preparation
  3. Recruitment of summer bridge students
  4. Increasing the institution’s spring to fall retention rate, leading to improved student graduation rates
  5. Support and advising for transfer or other eligible first-year students

Grant recipients will be required to submit a final report.

Elements of Institutional Proposals

Postsecondary institutions are invited to submit proposals to develop or expand summer bridge programming with the intent of supporting the transition to postsecondary and promoting first-year college success. This seed funding should support a 2024 summer bridge program at the institution or support of the transition of current first-year students in the continuation of their success. Elements of the proposal may include some or all of the following :

Summer Bridge Project proposals must include a narrative and a budget.

Projects will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis upon approval by CPE staff and based upon availability of funds. Proposals should include:

Project budgets must include a clear, concise and cost-effective budget plan that includes reasonable per person expenditures.

Allowable Expenses

Below is a list of allowable expenses that project awards may fund:

Funding Restrictions

Contractor will not use grant funds for payments to executives, administrators nor can the contractor use funds to reimburse themselves for grants to students or expenses incurred prior to the effective date of this contract.

Contractor may not use funds for administrative overhead costs often referred to as indirect costs. Indirect costs will not be allowed.

Gift cards or cash equivalent gifts or incentives are not permitted. Incentives such as bookstore stipends, scholarships, or direct student expenses are allowable.

Submission of Proposals

  1. More information and answers to frequently asked questions may be found on our Q&A sheet or recording of our webinar.
  2. Applicants must submit one complete electronic version of the proposal.
  3. Proposals should be no more than two pages in length, excluding the budget. This document should be written no smaller than single spaced, 12 point font, and 1” margins.
  4. Proposals must be received by noon ET on Monday, March 4, 2024.
  5. Submit your Summer Bridge proposal to this Google Form:

Evaluation of Proposals

Council staff will evaluate proposals in the order in which they are received for alignment to project goals and submission requirements. Following receipt of each proposal, CPE staff will evaluate and approve the proposal or reach out to program staff via email regarding any revisions that may be necessary. The number of grants awarded is contingent upon the limited funding available. The Council reserves the right, once an initial selection has been made, to negotiate the final terms of the agreement.

Award Notification

The number of grants awarded is contingent upon the limited funding available. Institutions will be notified in writing regarding the status of their proposal as they are received and reviewed. The Council reserves the right to accept or reject any and all proposals in whole or in part and to negotiate any or all aspects of a proposal. The Council bears no responsibility for any costs incurred while preparing any proposal.

Additional Requirements

All recipients of this funding will be required to identify the following for the 2024 spring semester:

Reporting Schedule

At a minimum, one final program report shall be required and contain:

The final report shall also include a summary or projection of the institution's sustainability plan for summer bridge programming.

If students are directly served through this project, student IDs must be submitted to CPE’s KPEDS system.

Final project report shall be submitted to CPE no later than June 14, 2024.

Additional updates may be requested by CPE.

Other Terms and Conditions

This is a reimbursement grant and any unexpended funds remaining after the expiration of the agreement will be forfeited by the institution. Reimbursement invoice requirements will be disseminated upon award. No extensions will be permitted.

The anticipated effective date of contracts resulting from this RFP is

April 1, 2024, through June 14, 2024.

Grantees may be required to participate in activities related to an external evaluation process.

Last Updated: 2/26/2024