MSSU aims to help students finish degrees by joining new program


JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Southern joins a national initiative to help those with higher education finally finish out their degree.

It is estimated about one in five students enrolled in a college program fall short of earning a degree or credential.

While many obstacles get in the way of student getting their degree, the degrees when due program is here to make it easy.

Cheryl Dobson the Registrar at Missouri Southern said, “Four million students have some credits toward a 2 year degree but have not finished that degree program. So their really trying to reach those students to try to encourage them to finish their degree.”

That staggering number triggered The Degrees When Due Program.

It connects students with tools to finish out a program they may have already started but had to stop.

Something very familiar to Missouri Southern student Joel Sipes.

“I took a break just so I could figure out what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what exactly what I wanted to major in.”

This year, Missouri Southern State University became a partner for the new program.

They’ll join more than 150 institutions in 20 states to get degree-eligible students on track for their degree.

“When you have that kind of help, it helps you get that degree faster, and it’s not as hard on the person coming back. It gives you a chance.”

But there are some changes schools must make to help the process.

It starts by looking at their policies.

Dobson said, “A few things Degrees When Due encourages is, is really institutions looking at policies. Reviewing policies that have maybe been in place forever and they just haven’t been reviewed in a long time. And like I said, we have been reviewing our policies, trying to keep up with the times and the changes.”

In the future, MSSU could lower credit hours needed to graduate and waive transfer fees.

Family obligations, financial problems, scheduling conflicts, and institutional policies are often some of the big obstacles for students.

More than 75,000 Missourians are currently eligible for the program.

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