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Scholarship Opportunities Available for Returning Students

Education | Graphic by Hannah Carson | The Wright State Guardian

Ohio residents seeking to return to school and earn a bachelor’s degree have financial opportunities available to assist with the transition.

Second Chance Grant

Chancellor Randy Gardner and Ohio Senator Jerry Cirino proposed in Oct. 2021 and enacted in July 2022 the Second Chance Grant pilot program to help Ohioans with some postsecondary education but no degree. The program addresses a priority of the DeWine-Husted administration to make higher education accessible and affordable for all students, including those who may have financial challenges that would prevent a potential return to college, according to the Department of Education website.

Susan Schaurer, vice president for enrollment management and chief recruitment officer of Wright State University, said that between 2021 and 2023, 175 Wright State students had taken advantage of the grant program.

“Our approach has been that when a student decides they want to come back or they let us know they’re interested in coming back, we’ve again looked at the applications. If they’ve done the FAFSA, we’ve told them they’ve qualified,” Schaurer said.

Eligibility requirements for the grant program are as follows: the enrollee is a resident of the state of Ohio and the enrollee was disenrolled from a qualifying institution in Ohio and did not transfer to another institution of higher education in the two semesters immediately following.

“We’re actively now looking at students who’ve been away for two semesters in hopes that we can outreach to them. Overall, we do outreach efforts to students anyway to get them to come back to the institution to persist and finish that degree,” Schaurer said.

Schaurer discussed the importance of getting back students who have not attended universities for over two semesters.

“I think one of the reasons there’s the two semester requirement is, the longer a student stops out, and the longer break they take, the statistics show the lesser chance you have of getting them to come back and finish that degree,” Schaurer said.

According to a college statistical study, finances are the number one reason students dropout of college. Schaurer hopes that grants such as this will help students complete the degree process.

“We are now, for the spring, putting into place some communication and outreach efforts to let the students know that we have this scholarship available to them, and hopefully, as we communicate with them about getting back to the institution, this would be an opportunity for us to leverage the grant to them,” Schaurer said.

The BOLD Compact

In addition to the Second Chance grant program, Schaurer encouraged students to investigate the Be Ohio’s Latest Degree Holder (BOLD) Compact. This program allows students with up to $5,000 in debt to universities to have the debt forgiven and return to college.

“We haven’t had a lot of students take us up on that,” Schaurer said. “So, it hasn’t been as fruitful as the Second Chance grant program, but it’s still a great opportunity with support from the state again, trying to get students to come back and to get their degree.”Raiders can find more information about the BOLD Compact on the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) website.

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