Antioch University Los Angeles’ (AULA) Bridge Program, which offers free college courses to adult students living on low incomes, has expanded to a third location, allowing it to serve more financially needy students who want to further their education. The new Long Beach site will enable the programs to accommodate 90 students each year.
The program covers the cost of books, office supplies and transportation for the duration of the nine-month program. Founded in 1999, the Bridge Program has hundreds of graduates, and is funded by donations, foundations, volunteers and AULA. In addition to the new Long Beach location, the program also has classrooms at AULA’s main campus and at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center.
“There is a tremendous demand for programs focused on academics and humanities for low-income adults,” said Kathryn Pope, Bridge Program director at AULA. “In addition to job skills or vocational training programs, we believe that a well-rounded education that includes philosophy, literature, art history and writing is vital for adult learners entering or re-entering the workforce.”
Bridge Program students are referred through community organizations from around Los Angeles, including transitional residencies, adult day schools, community centers and shelters. Students earn up to 15 college credits, which can be applied toward a college undergraduate program; many go on to complete advanced degrees.
Pope attributes the success of the Bridge Program to its unique approach to learning and non-traditional community of support – two tenets that Antioch University has woven throughout its educational offerings at five campuses across the United States and online.
“Our goal is to remove the barriers that may make it difficult for a student to attend class and foster a collaborative – rather than competitive – learning environment,” Pope said. “Along with that, we ask that students make a full commitment to the program, their classmates and their teachers to succeed.”
AULA is located in the Corporte Point complex on Slauson in Culver City.
Photo of recent graduates, mentors and tutors courtesy of AULA