14:03 PM

UHD Joins Initiative Focused on Helping Students Return to College


By Mark Kramer

The University of Houston-Downtown is committed to making higher education affordable, accessible and achievable for everyone. As part of that mission, UHD is taking an active role in a national initiative focusing on helping students who have paused their college careers to return to classes and earn their degree.

UHD was recently selected to participate in the Institute for Higher Education’s (IHEP) Degrees When Due program that is aiming to re-engage students who have taken time off from school, but still have credits. UHD will be part of a network of more than 150 colleges and universities in 20 states participating in the effort.

UHD’s University College will be overseeing the program and is partnering with IHEP and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in formulating plans to locate and communicate with students who may be able to return to complete their degree.

According to University College Assistant Dean Dr. Charlie Finch, UHD will involve working with Degrees When Due facilitators to build campus implementation teams to champion the cause of persuading students to return to classes and complete their college education.

“We currently work closely with students in these situation to help them maximize the credits that they have already earned and tailor their degree plan with what fits best for them,” Finch said. “Our partners with Degrees When Due will help us enhance our efforts with additional resources, training and technology. Of course, we will be working with admissions, advising and other UHD support departments to insure a seamless experience for students from admission to graduation.”

Degrees When Due Project Manager Emily Sellers said they will use real-time data to help UHD’s implementation teams locate students with a particular focus on historically underserved populations, including students of low-income backgrounds and minorities.

“Students who have taken a pause from their college courses have done so because of a variety of circumstances,” Finch said. “Through working with the Degrees When Due initiative, our hope is that we can reach these students on an even broader scale and set them up for success.”