SUNY officials hope for more money for program to convince dropouts to finish their degrees

Jan 4, 2018

The State University of New York is asking the state to help it expand a pilot program meant to get students with student loan debt who drop out of college help in finishing their degree. 

Re-Enroll to Complete is designed to reach recently withdrawn student loan borrowers to get them back on campus. A successful pilot program reached out to more than 1,000 students at 17 SUNY campuses.

“240 students out of that 1,000 in the pilot, came back. And of those, now a high percentage are actually completing their degree,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson.

Johnson says SUNY is asking for more funding in its 2018-2019 budget to expand the program beyond the 29 campuses currently participating.

She says financial issues can often get in the way of finishing a degree, and this program could help.

“It may take several forms. It may be an outright grant. It may be a low interest or no interest loan, and you pay back. But we’re finding that this is a real reason why a segment of our students do drop out,” said Johnson.

Onondaga Community College is one of those schools, and president Casey Crabill says statistics show students who don’t complete their degree don’t experience the same economic success as students who do finish up.

“If we can draw students back, whether they have debt or not, to kick them over the hurdle and get this piece of paper, we know it makes  an economic difference for them, for their families for the rest of their lives,” said Crabill.