MU creates Blue Shirt Program to support high school seniors affected by pandemic

Photo of two blue Marymount University tee shirts


Student learning suffered a significant blow during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020. That impact continues to reverberate across the country for students of all educational levels.

According to an Education Week article, the pandemic has greatly impacted low-income high school seniors as they’ve become twice as likely than their wealthier peers to have post-high school plans disrupted due to the pandemic and economic downturn.

“Marymount University understands there are many high school seniors whose grades and academic performance have been adversely affected by COVID-19, perhaps due to complications from moving to online learning, changes in household circumstances due to the pandemic or illness for the student or a family member,” explained Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “We are dedicated to offering an innovative solution to this issue.” 

The University is proud to launch the Blue Shirt Program, inspired by the college sports model of a “redshirt” season. The pilot initiative will take place during a special summer session for a limited number of high school seniors to engage in a range of courses and experiences.

“We recognize there are students with academic promise whose transcripts might not demonstrate their full potential, and recent grades are preventing some students from being accepted into colleges or universities,” added Alison Gregory, University Librarian and coordinator for the initiative. “The Blue Shirt Program gives these students a second chance to show their potential for success in college.”

A trio of students gather on the grounds of Marymount University

Students in the program will take two college-level courses over the summer and participate in supplemental activities, allowing them to build their academic skills and confidence while earning credits at a reduced cost. Scholarships are available for students who demonstrate financial need.

The program has a limited number of seats, with two tracks:

  • One track includes a college success skills course and is designed for students who would benefit most from a college writing course.
  • Another track is for students who would benefit most from quantitative studies in mathematics (also includes a college success skills course).

Learning will be conducted through a hybrid model with online elements as well as some face-to-face opportunities for learning and engagement. Appropriate social distancing and face covering protocols will be in place for the safety of students and faculty.

Students who successfully complete the program will be guaranteed admission at Marymount University for the Fall 2021 semester.

What’s exciting about Marymount’s Blue Shirt Program is the wrap-around support that these students will experience, which will foster their academic well-being as well as their resiliency and resourcefulness during challenging transitions,” explained Michelle Steiner, Assistant Vice President for Student Success at Marymount University. “We are being intentional about helping students develop the skills they will need to navigate the entirety of their higher education journey.

For more information on the Blue Shirt Program and how to apply, please click here.