A photo of a student drawing on the pavement with chalk, in front of a table with a green banner reading 'Summer Session'The College of Continuing Education holds a Summer Session registration kickoff event in the Library Quad in 2018. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Sacramento State’s effort to increase graduation rates – through programs that encourage first-year students to “Finish in Four” and transfer students to get “Through in Two” – are centered on a simple concept: Students pledge to take 30 units per academic year to ensure a timely graduation.

But what if students are not able to fit all of those units into the standard fall and spring semesters? Enter Summer Session.

Over two six-week sessions, or one 12-week session, Summer Session offers Sacramento State students opportunity to catch up on their units or take courses that might not have been available during spring or fall, helping them to stay on track.

Registration for Summer Session opened April 15 for continuing Sac State students, and students admitted to Sacramento State as well as members of the community can begin registering for classes on May 6. The first six-week session begins May 28.

Finish in Four and Through in Two students are offered perks for Summer Session such as discounts and priority registration for courses needed to graduate, said Jim Dragna, executive director of University Initiatives and Student Success.

“More and more Sac State students entering in their first year or transferring from community colleges are enrolling in Summer Session courses to further progress towards a timely degree attainment,” Dragna said. “Summer Session, for many Sac State students, is a way to supplement the fall and spring coursework schedule and stay on track to graduate.”

Enrollment in Summer Session has increased steadily over the past several years, from just over 4,000 students in 2016 to more than 4,600 last year. The University expects another increase this summer.

New for this year are grants, funded through the College of Continuing Education and the Center for Teaching and Learning, to encourage and help faculty members develop fully online Summer Session courses, allowing for more students to access them. Nine such courses will be offered this summer, in subjects ranging from education to engineering.

“Online courses allow students to attend class without commuting to campus, which make them a great option for students without transportation or who live a great distance away,” said Lynn Tashiro, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “In addition to increasing access, these summer courses are designed to engage students and use technology tools to improve learning.”

Students are often concerned about the cost of additional courses, but financial aid is available, helping make Summer Session more accessible. For the second year, eligible students may apply for Summer Pell Grants to help pay for summer classes.

Sacramento State again is offering the Provosts Summer Graduation Initiative Grant to students who have signed the Finish in Four or Through in Two pledges as well as “finish line students” – those who are within 30 units of graduation. The amount of the grant varies by grade level.

More information is available on the Summer Session page of Sac State's website. – Jonathan Morales