2014-07-02 / Community

Good deals could lure Hoosiers back to college

Started college but didn’t finish?

You’re not alone. An estimated 737,000 Hoosiers fit that description, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Now, Indiana colleges want you back — and they’re getting ready to make you an offer that’s hard to refuse.

In fact, one local college already has a deal for you — one that other colleges could use as a pattern.

Two weeks ago, the state commission approved a new Return and Complete program, aiming to woo Hoosiers back to campus to finish their degrees.

Colleges have until October 2015 to come up with their incentive plans to get people back in school.

By Jan. 1, 2016, Hoosiers who previously attended Indiana colleges but did not graduate will receive direct communications explaining the offers.

Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne (IPFW) already has a deal in place — a 50 percent discount for its returning students.

The offer is available to former IPFW students who left with a cumulative grade average of 2.0 or higher; who have completed and earned at least 60 college credits; who have been away at least two years; and who currently live in Indiana.

IPFW’s plan fits almost perfectly with the model for other colleges proposed by Teresa Lubbers, Indiana’s commissioner for higher education.

“You have to do this with people who already have a certain number of credits and offer it for a certain period of time,” Lubbers said recently. “It’s almost like a tax amnesty idea. You give people a period of time and they have to take advantage of it.”

Lubbers mentioned that Indiana students are eligible for eight semesters of financial aid, and that could help returning students who have not used their full allotments.

Good reasons for returning to school include the potential for higher incomes and more satisfying careers.

Not finishing college on the first attempt clearly is quite common, and it shouldn’t discourage anyone from making a second try.

Older students with greater maturity could find it easier to succeed at college than when they were teenagers. They also may have a stronger determination to earn a degree and qualify for a better job.

IPFW estimates that 2,500 former students qualify for its tuition discount program. By the end of next year, hundreds of thousands of Indiana residents could be eligible for similar good deals on a second chance at a college diploma.

KPC News

Thursday, June 26, 2014

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