College Comeback: Cincinnati State offers debt relief to students who left college – The Cincinnati Enquirer

college-comeback:-cincinnati-state-offers-debt-relief-to-students-who-left-college-–-the-cincinnati-enquirer

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A general view of the Main Building at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Clifton photographed, Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College's board of trustees approved a program Tuesday that will provide debt relief to former students, in hopes that they come back to college and graduate.

There are many reasons why a student might leave college before finishing their program, Cincinnati State president Monica Posey said. Often those decisions come down to personal and/or financial challenges.

"The idea is that something could have happened along the way in which they had a bill they could not pay or there's some misunderstanding about how much they owed the college," Posey told The Enquirer. "And it's preventing them from coming back and completing their degrees."

The new program, dubbed College Comeback, provides each student up to $1,000 of debt relief for bills owed to Cincinnati State. Students who took classes at the college but stopped enrolling for at least one semester are eligible to apply, so long as they are:

  • Within two semesters of completing their credential.
  • Have a GPA of at least 2.0.
  • Enroll in a minimum of six credit hours for the next semester.

College Comeback will also provide students with advisors to help them re-enroll in the college and develop a financial plan for the remainder of their college career.

"It's pretty holistic," Posey said. "Looking at how they can pick up and continue their degree, but also how they can be stronger in dealing with the issues around managing college finances."

By wiping debt for these students, Posey said, the college hopes to see them return to Cincinnati State and take credits, which will bring new tuition dollars back into the institution.

"Being able to tell students that debt relief is now available will be a game changer," Geoffrey Woolf, dean of Humanities and Sciences for Cincinnati State, said in a news release. "With the right kind of dedicated advising and support for these returning students, not only could this have a huge impact on their lives, but also the economic health of the city and region."

Through federal stimulus funds, Cincinnati State has already provided $1 million in debt relief this month to about 800 students who were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said. The two programs combined could assist more than 3,000 current and former students.

Eligible students will receive communications about how to apply to College Comeback, Posey said. The college will be working with the Ohio Attorney General's Office to finalize the program, with the intention of kicking it off this spring.

"Both of these programs align with our mission of producing more graduates who not only work in frontline industries such as health care, but who also will fuel our region's post-COVID economic recovery across many essential industries, including business, advanced manufacturing, cyber security, culinary, and many others," Posey said.

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