The (Re)Connect to College Program at CSU
The (Re)Connect to College program is basically motivated by the fact that we know that there’s a lot of students in any region who start college and then don’t finish. And that’s an enormous loss of personnel, of manpower, and also for the students it’s a real loss of dollars, because they often incur debt. So, we were kind of interested in trying to recruit some of those students to come back to school and see if they could finish their degrees. On the College Now end, they call and ask the student, “Are you interested in going back to school.” They try to find out if there are any issues – students often have debts or other problems that need to be resolved. So, College Now will help them with that. At the CSU end, we provide advising services. We’re often able to connect the student to other scholarship resources on campus. We provide access to tutoring, credit by exam services. And then we provide sort of follow-up success coaching effectively to make sure that the students are on track. It was a little a little hard to transition into college just because I had no assistance. I didn’t know how college actually worked and it was a little bit disheartening. And also, after I got my associates degree and I wanted to return to Cleveland State, my mom did pass away. So I kind of withdrew from that semester and I ended up going back home and taking care of funeral arrangements and my siblings for a while. And then I moved back here and unfortunately I couldn’t return because I had a debt and my financial aid package did not cover that. So, the (Re)Connect to College program and the team helped me find these different alternatives to get back into college, with tuition assistance, as far as like grants and scholarships. I ended up going to College Now, which is in the downtown area of Cleveland, and they were very helpful as far as helping me find more grants and scholarships. So, it was kind of like word-of-mouth and it traveled very fast. And from there on Adam and the (Re)Connect to College team just took over and kind of let me in the right direction, so that I could transition smoothly. Before I stopped college I was actually in a car accident. So, I was a server at Olive Garden. So, I had to take time off from that cause I couldn’t do it. So, I was just doing the Contemporary Services job, but it was only like ten hours a week. So, I couldn’t pay for school out of pocket, working ten hours a week. So, I fell behind. I finished that semester, but I had a plan to get it back together and start, but then starting all over, buying a new car and having kids to take care of, and working ten hours a week, just…it wasn’t in my cards to push through it then. I only had one class to take before I finished my degree in accounting. Someone from the (Re)Connect program at Cleveland State reached out to me about finishing that last class. And it’s like I’m right there. I gotta go a little bit further. And so to finally get that assistance, it’s like now I have to do my part and make sure I get it, cause everybody else around me did their part and get me where I am here at Cleveland State University, and I am so, so grateful for that. I felt like for a long time it was just me and I only had my back. However, there are people out here who generally want to see you succeed. The people in the (Re)Connect program they really care. I’m so grateful to have the people I have that supported me through this whole process with coming back to school.