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A consolidated resource for adults returning to college

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Discussions about college attainment almost inevitably center around the 18-22-year-old demographic, fresh out of high school and just starting on the path of their future careers. But these are not the only people who attend college, and are certainly not the only ones in need of assistance and guidance to help them through the selection, application and financial aid process.
The Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF) recognizes the need for resources specifically for adult learners and returning adult students. They have put together a resource website called Finish My Degree OKC dedicated entirely to the adult learner.
"We didn't want them to get lost in the 18-22-geared websites where you really have to dig deep [to find information for returning adult students]," says Rick Fernandez, Coordinator for Counselor and Development Outreach at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. "We wanted to take the confusion out of it for that student wanting to return to school without getting lost in the myriad."
The website offers a number of listings, from links to schools that offer degree programs specifically geared for the adult learner that link directly to those programs (as opposed to the main site of the school itself, where one has to navigate through all of the information targeted at the "traditional" student). There are also resources for them to investigate if they need financial aid assistance, another component that can be difficult for a working adult returning to school to access. 
Oklahoma City has a goal of raising the college attainment rate to 60% by 2025 for associates and bachelors degrees, which means about 3,800 degrees per year. Adult learners who have started degree programs in the past without completing them and are now returning will play a crucial role in that.
The OCCF communicates with area chambers of commerce, literacy programs, the public library, and workforce development departments to help spread the word about Finish My Degree OKC, as well as having presence at college and career fairs for direct outreach.

Source: Rick Fernandez, Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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