From staff reports
More than 200 new college students are stepping onto an Ohio University campus this week as a result of special promotions at three regional campuses.
Ohio University's Chillicothe, Southern (Ironton) and Zanesville regional campuses are helping some prospects get past that hurdle by offering tuition-free classes or classes at a deep discount to get eligible individuals started. To reach those potential students, the promotions were taken directly to the surrounding communities by campus personnel.
"For many individuals, especially those who are balancing job and family responsibilities, the most difficult part of pursuing or completing a college degree is taking the first step," said T.J. Eveland, manager of student recruitment at Ohio University-Chillicothe.
And many, he added, are uncertain if they can afford college.
The offers are one way the regional campuses are working toward the goals of Ohio's strategic plan for higher education, which calls for making the widest range of educational opportunities available to Ohioans and raising educational aspirations.
"We are confident that, once in the classroom, individuals will find that attaining a college degree, whether it be an associate or bachelor's degree, is within their reach," Eveland said.
Chillicothe's Experience College program
Through the Experience College program, 63 students will earn college credit in one tuition-free class of their choice during fall quarter on the Chillicothe campus.
To qualify for the free course, students had to meet one of the following criteria: be at least 25 years of age, a parent, a military veteran or an Ohio University alumnus who has not completed a bachelor’s degree and has not taken classes at Ohio University in the last five years. Application fees for qualifying students were waived.
The program drew substantial interest from day one. Within two days, 15 individuals registered for the classes, and another 50 individuals placed phone calls to inquire about the program.
During August, campus representatives visited the Ross County Fair, the Ross County and Pickaway County Jobs One Stop and set up shop in Bennett Hall on campus to accept applications for the program.
The fall-quarter program pilot will be evaluated before determining whether to continue the initiative. One aspect to be considered is the program's ability to encourage full-time student status.
The Chillicothe program is based on a similar promotion that has been offered at the Zanesville campus since 2000.
Zanesville's Back to School promotion
This year, Zanesville campus representatives were on hand at Colony Square Mall in early August to help students register for classes under the Back to School promotion. The application fee was waived for anyone who applied on the spot.
But an application fee waiver wasn't the only savings for these savvy back-to-school shoppers.
Eligible students could enroll for one tuition-free class during fall quarter. To be eligible, the student must have graduated from high school before 2005 or not hold a four-year degree, and not have taken a course at Ohio University in the past three years.
As a bonus, the offer was extended to all Ohio University alumni.
During the one-week promotion, 83 students applied to the university and 134 students registered for a free class. Heather Goins, who left college about six years ago before completing a degree, was among the applicants.
"I knew I should (finish my degree), but circumstances and immaturity caused me to stop," Goins said of her previous college experience. "This free class offer is a great opportunity to help me accomplish my goals."
Goins is using the free class as a jump start to complete the associate degree she began several years ago. She then plans to work toward a bachelor's.
"I am more excited now and taking things more seriously than I did before," said Goins, who attended her first class Monday night -- an economics class that was a major stumbling block six years ago.
After class, the instructor commented on her enthusiasm for learning, which he said encouraged other students to participate.
Southern's Make Your Mark $10 Rate
Can you imagine a college tuition rate of only $10 per credit hour? The Southern campus is promoting a special offer that allows eligible students to take one class, up to five credit hours, at the reduced rate. The promotional rate is a 93 percent savings.
During a door-to-door campaign, Southern campus personnel and students hung informational cards on door knobs throughout several area neighborhoods to announce the special deal. The offer also was promoted in the local news and at area events.
To be eligible for the $10 rate, students are required to take the class at the Ironton or Proctorville locations and must not have earned a bachelor's degree or taken classes at any higher education institution within the past three years.
Registrations are still being accepted during the first week of classes. As of Monday, more than 50 new students had enrolled in a class through the promotion.
To speak with a media contact about this story, please contact regional campuses writer/editor Linda Lockhart at 740-597-2938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.