Program allows former students to return to University, earn degree

Reporter and Reporter

For students who have taken time off from the University, there is still a way to return and earn a degree.

University officials have brought back a program called the National Finish What You Started Campaign, where students who have stopped taking classes in the past two years have been chosen to return to earn their degree.

The campaign had been done five years ago and was reinstated in the fall of 2010 said Rodney Rogers, senior vice president and provost for Academic Affairs. In order for the students to be chosen, they need to have had a required academic standing and at least 25 credit hours at the time they left the University, he said.

“If we can personalize and layout the model and pathway to get them towards that degree or attainment, that’s our goal,” Rogers said. “We’ll work with them and meet with them to discuss the program they’re close to completing for their degree.”

There were more than 1,100 students at the University eligible for the program between fall 2010 and the summer of 2012, said Andrew Alt, director of New Student Orientation and First Year Programs.

“We wanted to create an opportunity and initiative for students returning to complete their degree and to get back in that academic program,” Alt said. “We want them to complete their goals of completing their degree or obtaining a job or going on to graduate school.”

Students who have dropped out because of a low GPA or been put on academic suspension are not qualified to be part of the program, Rogers said.

“We’re not changing any of our minimum standards.” Rogers said. “It’s open to any student based upon their GPA performance, whether it be for their bachelor’s or associate’s degree.”

The program serves as a major purpose to those who have struggled to obtain their degree, but haven’t been able to, said junior Ryan Steffen.

“If it’s for the advancement of people it will help them out in the long run,” Steffen said. “They would be able to have more opportunities in life and it would be benefiting themselves.”

Rogers hopes universities will make it to the point where students’ academic advisors would help them enough to render the campaign unnecessary.

“We know that life gets in the way sometimes for all of us and causes us to reroute our goals,” Rogers said. “We just want to reach out towards students and to let them know there’s a way for them to reach their degree.”