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CU will now be able to more efficiently help students finish school and obtain their diplomas, after being awarded with a $25,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
The grant was given to CU through Continuing Education. The aim of the grant is locate students who have been out of school for many years and help them complete their degree.
“People run out money, they get married, they move,” said Carol Drake, executive director at Continuing Education.
The primary motive behind the grant is to increase the amount of individuals with college degrees in the state of Colorado. Three other universities in Colorado received similar grants.
“The main focus was for the program to have the potential for sustainability and scalability,” said Margot Plotz, assistant to the Chief Academic Officer and the administrative and grants coordinator for the Department of Higher Education. “The ultimate goal of the project is to reach out to the total number of students (20,000 approximately) who were close but didn’t complete their degrees.”
To accomplish this goal, CU is specifically targeting individuals who left the school years ago without completing a degree. Continuing Education will contact them at their last known home and e-mail address to help these adults determine the best option available to them, whether that means re-enrollment at CU or not.
“Let’s say they are in Wisconsin: We can help them figure out the best option that is there,” said Drake. “If they are one credit away, maybe they could take an online class.”
The grant is not an attempt to increase enrollment at CU, but rather one to help former students complete a degree.
Locating all of these former students seems as though it may be a challenge because people move away and change their contact information. However, since the university released a statement about the grant and its purpose, Continuing Education has received a lot of attention.
“People are interested,” Drake said. “We have had 70 inquiries about the grant since the press release.”
But coming back to school after many years can be challenging.
Michelle Bradley, a senior sociology major and full-time mother, has taken 13 semesters to graduate.
“Taking fives classes a semester, having a 2 ½-year-old and being pregnant—that’s busy,” said Bradley, who is in her final semester at CU. “School’s not for everyone when you’re 18. I went to college right after high school for one semester and then dropped out.”
Bradley said she re-enrolled as an undergraduate student in 2002, and she has enjoyed taking classes at CU. She said she is grateful that when she came back to complete her degree, she had more direction and career focus.
”I want to be a high school guidance counselor,” Bradley said.
Bradley said she will encourage her children to go to college, but she knows that going straight to undergrad from high school is difficult and people need to approach getting a degree at their own pace.
“I wanted to go back when I knew more what I wanted to do,” Bradley said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Alison Doyle at email@example.com.