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Monday, December 18, 2006
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Two Ohio universities leverage campuses to increase access to higher education
Complete to CompeteSM makes strides in enhancing opportunities for adult learners

ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 18, 2006) -- In Eastern Ohio, the four-year-degree completion rate for students age 25 or older is more than 10 percent lower than the national average of 28 percent*. To boost that rate, Ohio University and Kent State University formed a partnership last spring called Complete to CompeteSM

Complete to CompeteThe partnership will bring higher education and workforce development to thousands of adult learners in the region by leveraging the universities' wide network of campuses. 

Together, the universities have 14 campuses - 12 of them regional or branch campuses - that stretch from Ashtabula County in the northeast to Lawrence County in the south, and include urban, rural and Appalachian areas. 

"Our mission as centers of learning excellence in our regions is to open the doors to a higher education for underserved populations. By expanding our regional outreach and economic development efforts, we are complementing other initiatives at our universities to extend those learning opportunities," Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis said. 

According to the universities' research, nearly 450,000 people in Eastern Ohio's 33 counties could initially take advantage of this program. Program organizers hope that prospective students can begin to register during the winter quarter. The two universities have identified baccalaureate degree completion options that are especially suited for Complete to CompeteSM, and they will jointly develop other market-driven programs, including possible niche master's degrees.

Complete to CompeteSM provides adult learners with flexibility by offering classroom-based, Web-based and hybrid class formats. Advisors at all campuses will help students navigate the degree program best suited to their needs. 

Leveraging the resources of each university will keep the cost of these programs affordable. Additionally, coordination between the universities will ensure that course credits earned through Complete to CompeteSM transfer easily and efficiently.

The partnership already has conducted a joint market research study of occupational trends and educational needs in the health care industry in Northeast and Southeast Ohio, to provide context for future program development. 

The partnership has launched a new Web site, www.CompleteToCompete.info, and an informational campaign to communicate opportunities to adult learners and encourage them to participate in the program. Further information will be added as the program develops.

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*According to data from the 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Media Contact: Media Relations Coordinator Jessica Stark, 740-597-2938 or starkj@ohio.edu

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