Montana State University is offering scholarships and academic support services to help those who started college but never completed a degree.
MSU’s Return-to-Learn program is specifically tailored for those over the traditional college age of 18-22 who may have families and jobs, but still have a desire to complete their degree. It is the only program of its kind in the state and one of only a few in the nation.
Return-to-Learn is designed to make enrolling as easy as possible for former students. Working in conjunction with the academic departments and colleges, the program provides each student with an assessment of how long and what courses are necessary to earn a degree. Return-to-Learn students also receive intensive support through the creation of academic and career plans.
“We make sure they know about and are using our full suite of academic support services such as tutoring and study-skills training, but we also give them access to our career coaches and our financial advisers so that they can pay for school in a responsible, manageable fashion and then be prepared to use it in the workplace once they graduate,” Beck said.
MSU estimates there are several thousand residents in the Gallatin Valley alone that took some college classes but did not finish their degree.
“These are people who may have some college debt,” Beck said. “College debt without a degree is the worst kind of debt. We want to change that.”
“Any kind of higher education degree, whether a two-year associate’s, or a four-year bachelor’s, can increase a person’s chances of earning more over their lifetime,” Beck said. “We also know there can be a strong relationship between education attainment and one’s health, quality of life and the ability to save for retirement.
“A college education can open a lot of doors. We want to help people walk through to better lives,” Beck said.
The program allows enrollees to enter any degree program they wish, including two-year degrees offered through MSU’s Gallatin College, which offers a variety of degrees ranging from CNC machine technology to medical assistant.
The enrollment deadline for fall semester’s Return-to-Learn program is Wednesday, Aug. 19, with classes beginning on Monday, Aug. 24. The program will hold an open house from 4-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13, in room 232 of the MSU’s Strand Union Building. Return-to-Learn staff will also answer questions live via the Web at that time via a WebEx session. To register for the open house, either for in-person or on-line, call the Return-to-Learn program at (406) 994-7627. To attend the open house online, visit: http://montana.edu/r2lopenhouse.
Find the Return-to-Learn homepage at: http://www.montana.edu/success/returntolearn/.
Contact: Carina Beck, director of MSU’s Allen Yarnell Center for Student Success, 406-994-7627, firstname.lastname@example.org