More than 150 colleges in 20 states across the country have pledged to re-engage students who have some college experience but “stopped-out” before they could complete their degree. Through the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) initiative, called “Degrees When Due,” participating colleges will learn how to identify students who have paused their schooling and encourage them to return to campus to finish their degrees.
Launched last year, the philanthropically funded, $5.8 million IHEP initiative will run for three years. It recently announced its second cohort of participating institutions, which will undergo a nine-month training and collaborate with other Degrees When Due schools to share best practices.
IHEP hopes the project will eventually produce at least 500,000 new graduates, many of them from historically underserved populations especially prone to stopping out. “Our Degrees When Due institutional and state partners are building a strong pathway to degree attainment for all students,” Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, president of IHEP, said in a statement.
How significantly does degree reclamation benefit students?
Across the country, some 36 million adults have some college experience but no degree. Around four million have enough credits to have earned an associate degree but stopped out before obtaining it. But “do [degree reclamation] programs really pay off for students—financially, emotionally, or in some other way?, The Chronicle of Higher Education asked recently.
IHEP hopes the Degrees When Due project will help answer that question. The organization plans to publish initial findings in 2020 detailing degree attainment rates and other student outcomes.