Twenty percent of Americans between the ages 25 to 64, some 37 million people, have taken college coursework but failed to earn a degree. These folks are already part of the way toward a diploma and statistically higher wages, but can’t find the time, money, patience, or purpose to conclude their education. Project Win-Win, a new outreach program profiled in The Chronicle of Higher Education, is meant to find college dropouts who are just a few classes away from graduation and encourage them to complete their degrees. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?
But as The Chronicle’s Jennifer Gonzalez explains, it’s not an easy sell getting dropouts back into school:
The process can also be an administrative headache for colleges.
To make the transition back to a scholarly life easier for former students, Project Win-Win is emulating the "cut through the red tape" approach of University of New Mexico's successful Graduation Project, a program that guides students over the bureaucratic hurdles of the University system. Graduation Project gives students information about which classes they need to graduate, encourages them to petition academic departments for credits or waivers, and works with the registrar's office when classes fill to capacity before the returning student can secure a seat. Small victories are trickling in. At the time of the article's publication, Project Win-Win had awarded almost 600 associate degrees and identified an additional 1,600 potential degree recipients.