New program brings students back to school

Erica Batyko

Provost Todd Diacon created the university’s new Degree Completer Program to help students who dropped out return to school. 

Diacon said he was concerned for students who spent valuable time and money in school without receiving a degree. 

“We worry about the cost of an education, but what I worry most about is people who’ve spent a lot and don’t have a degree,” he said. “That’s the most difficult situation for an individual to find himself or herself in. If you borrowed money for three years and don’t have a degree, then what do you have?”

Associate Provost Melody Tankersley said the Degree Completer Program created this summer helps former students who have completed 90 credit hours return to school to continue pursuing their degree.

“There are a lot of students who, for a lot of different reasons, have to step out of college,” Tankersley said. “What we’re finding is a lot of them are really great students.”

Tankersley said the goal of the university is to help as many former students as possible. 

“To me, it’s what we’re all about in this office,” she said. “It’s about students being successful. It’s about faculty getting to be outstanding. It’s the epitome of what we should be doing.” 

Deanna Donaugh, assistant director of the Degree Completer Program, said the university contacts former students who had a GPA of at least a 2.0 and have not taken a class for more than two years. The former students are asked if they would like to return to school and are offered a custom plan for reenrollment and graduation. 

In August of this year, one student graduated from the program and 10 more students are expected to graduate in December, Donaugh said. A majority of the students are choosing to take online classes because they are not in the Kent area. According to Tankersley, some students are also choosing to change their major so they can graduate sooner. 

“We’re helping students finish what they started,” she said.

Contact Erica Batyko at [email protected].

Tristan Buirley contributed to reporting for this story.