ST. CLOUD -- Graduating on time can be a challenge for many college students. St. Cloud State University is trying to help students stay on track and get ahead to achieve their education goals.

Summer semester is how St. Cloud State is able to provide more opportunities for students. New this coming summer semester, the Federal Pell Grant will be awarded to students who received it for the previous fall and spring semesters.

Glenn Davis is the Interim Assistant Provost for University College. Davis says since more financial aid is being offered for summer they expect summer enrollment to increase going into next year. He says to prepare for potential higher enrollment numbers, SCSU is continuing to prioritize it's summer courses.

"We continue to offer a series of high demand courses both online and face to face. We know our students want to make steady and swift progress toward their degrees, so that is one of our strategies. We look at the summer term really as a third semester. We definitely encourage students to see it as an opportunity to get a jump start on the next academic year or catch up on the previous one if they were unable to take a full load so they can still graduate in four years."

The goal of the summer semester is to help students get back on track or get ahead with their graduation goals. Davis says during the regular school year they encourage students to take a full course load.

"We encourage undergraduate students to take 30 credits each year so they can graduate in four years, that's the goal that we've set for ourselves to really push for students. We recognize that not everyone is going to be able to do that for financial reasons or they may have other obligations but that's something we really want to push them toward."

Now that more financial aid is available to students who qualify, Davis says it does take some of the financial pressure off when students can pay through a grant rather than a loan.

So far, summer enrollment numbers have stayed steady compared to previous years. Davis says about 3,550 students are enrolled for the summer.

Summer semester is divided into two sessions. Classes are offered in one session or both sessions depending on the course. Registration is still available for summer semester. Classes begin May 14.