U Offers Incentives to Drop Back In

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(Photo by Chris Samuels)

(Photo by Chris Samuels)
(Photo by Chris Samuels)

 
While some students drop out of college, others are dropping back in.
Some students who have left the U are finding the desire and motivation to return and complete their degree after spending some valuable time away from the classroom.
Mary Parker, the associate vice president of the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis, said she thinks students drop out and come back for a variety of reasons and outside commitments.
“We have students who leave the U with a full intention on returning,” Parker said. “Some students leave for a religious mission and are absent for a few semesters before returning, or they step out for a military commitment. The leave of absence is personal to each student.”
Students who decide to take a leave of absence offered through the U can come back and take advantage of the resources provided through the Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis, Parker said.
“For students who come back, it is all about communication [and] letting them know we have people to help them,” she said. “We reach out to them, we want them to feel our support. We can set up advising appointments and help them in that aspect of schooling — there is a real focus of doing that upfront and quickly. We do a little bit of everything.”
Dropping out and dropping back into school is often a matter of financial burden besides wanting to have a break, Parker said.
“We see students who leave and come back for financial reasons,” she said. “We try to identify which students are having those issues and we work with them. We just kicked off a new scholarship this past year that is aimed at keeping students in school.”
Ashlie Gilbert, a senior in psychology and international studies, said she took a leave of absence for a few months while doing an internship.
“Coming back has been really hard because you get out of the mindset of being a student with classes and due dates and deadlines and you realize what it is like to have the freedom,” Gilbert said.
However, some students who drop out and make the choice to come back to the U don’t always stick around to get the degree, Parker said.
“We’ve seen a mix of students who leave and come back,” she said. “Some fulfill their degrees, but for others, earning the degree or the U as an institution might not be right for them, and that is OK. Everything is a personal reason.”
For students who decide to come back to school, Gilbert said the benefits are more palpable.
“I see the benefits of coming back and staying with it,” she said. “I know I need to finish, and I also see that my personal view of what I believe success is has changed. My time as a student is valuable.”
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@JulianneSkrivan