Turn Back Tuition enhances access to college degree for working adults
By Kim Chaudoin on 6/21/2012
In continuing efforts to expand access to a college degree for the 61 percent of Americans who don’t hold a post-secondary degree, Lipscomb University is offering adults who have attended college but not completed a bachelor’s degree the opportunity to turn back time by enrolling in the Adult Degree Program at a tuition equal to when they were previously enrolled in college.
“Lipscomb University wants to make a college education more accessible by helping students overcome the obstacles that often get in the way of completing a bachelor’s degree,” said Charla Long, dean of the College of Professional Studies. “Barriers to pursing a college education range from the cost as well as a fear of failure and wondering if they can add one more thing to their already full plate with a job, family and other activities. We want to give people the opportunity to prove it to themselves that they can complete their degrees by testing the waters with a financial break on tuition for their first semester back in school.”
With college tuition prices rising nearly 450 percent over the last 30 years, a college degree is often unaffordable for adults who have not completed their undergraduate degrees. Only 39 percent of Americans have earned a two-year or four-year degree. President Barack Obama has challenged colleges and universities to expand their opportunities for access to education so that by 2020 America will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
“Studies show that adults increasingly need a college degree to contribute to the struggling economy, participate in the workforce and to provide for their families,” said Long. “Lipscomb is poised to contribute to this goal through its unique Turn Back Tuition program, which encourages students to return to college to continue their degree and improve the quality of their lives.”
Since 2009, Lipscomb has established several creative programs designed to increase access for populations who may find it difficult to obtain a college degree. Among programs added were the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship program for military veterans, programs targeted to Hispanic high school graduates, partnerships with community colleges and a three-year academic program designed to move students through college quicker and more affordably.
When the College of Professional Studies was established last year to, in part, strengthen ties between Lipscomb’s academic programs and the workplace, officials took a look at the non-traditional, working adult demographic and designed the Turn Back Tuition Program to meet their specific needs.
The program offers busy working adults the opportunity to “try out” Lipscomb University at a reduced rate to help them overcome apprehension they may have about continuing their college education.
To participate in the Turn Back Tuition Program, an individual must:
- Have graduated from high school in 2008 or earlier or cannot have attended college in the past four years;
- Meet the current admissions entrance criteria:
- Submit academic transcripts;
- Not have been admitted for Lipscomb’s fall semester 2012 prior to June 10, 2012;
- Enroll for a minimum of six credit hours and no more than 12 credit hours; and
- Pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Eligible students will pay the Lipscomb Adult Degree Program tuition price at the time they last attended college. The tuition reduction will be in effect for the first semester that a student is enrolled. (Additional institutional aid is not applicable during the semester students are enrolled in the Turn Back Tuition program, but other financial aid and grants may apply.) Students can take coursework from a wide range of majors including management, education, business, psychology, social work and law justice and society among others.
“We hope that once a student is enrolled for a semester he will realize that a college degree is attainable and that he will want to continue his studies toward a degree,” said Long. “We have a very strong support system for adult learners including a specialized admissions team who knows the unique challenges facing this student as well as resources for academic advising, career counseling and other aspects of the university community.”
Lipscomb’s Adult Degree Program has long recognized the challenges facing working, adult students. Once students have completed 30 hours in the Adult Degree Program with a minimum 3.0 GPA, they are eligible for a $1,500 annual scholarship, a financial award that has been provided for some years. The scholarship is the equivalent of one free class per year, according to Long.
For more information visit adultdegree.lipscomb.edu or call 615.966.5948.