Ron Floyd dropped out of Seton Hall University in New Jersey more than 20 years ago after his junior year. Her father, the family’s primary earner, had just been laid off. Floyd said he had lost interest in his studies, was doing badly in his class and did not want to impose tuition bills on his family. He returned to his home in East Windsor, Connecticut to get a job.
Like many dropouts, Floyd always wanted to finish his college education. His father was a college-educated aerospace engineer. But as the years go by, her student loan prevents her from re-applying to college to resume her studies. Yet luckily, through hard work and saving, Floyd was able to get back.
Floyd’s barriers and how he overcame them are important because in 2020, there were a staggering 39 million American adults who dropped out of college and never finished their degree, the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, a nonprofit organization that collects and analyzes data. Colleges and universities. It is one in five adults under the age of 65. The number of college dropouts has increased during the hard labor market; An additional 2 million people joined their ranks in 2018, just over a year and a half ago.
Failed attempts at college have left many in debt due to distorted credit history and poor long-term employment prospects. Black and Hispanic students are more likely to land on this boat: 43 percent of the country’s college dropouts are black and Hispanic Americans, much more than their 34 percent of the graduate population. Floyd, who is Black, was one of those figures until his graduation in late August 2020.
Colleges and philanthropists are keen to entice this population – not only to improve the lives of these Americans and increase the efficiency of the U.S. workforce, but also to fill vacancies in colleges that have lost students.
It is not easy for many to come back. Statistics from the National Student Clearinghouse show that about one million of these alumni are re-enrolled each year but before the end of the year, half of them drop out again. A 2021 survey by the research firm Higher Aid Insight revealed a variety of things that have helped more than 1,000 returning students who have been successful help them stick to their studies and complete their degree. About a quarter of employers receive tuition subsidies. Most of the students took loans. Many expressed a strong inner drive to achieve this personal goal and finish what they started. (The Lumina Foundation has funded both the National Student Clearinghouse and the Higher Aid Insight Report.
Each person’s experience and problems are different and so are the solutions. Some people think online classes are very important but others don’t. I wanted to talk to the students participating in the survey to hear their story, but Higher Ad Insight promised not to reveal the names of the colleges they attended. Instead, the research firm introduced me to Floyd, who was not part of the survey study, but whose story echoed that of many survey respondents.
Like many dropouts, Floyd had unnecessary student loans to settle. During his junior year at Seton Hall, Floyd believed that his tuition was covered by a federal plus loan taken by his parents. But later in the year, Seton Hall noticed that it had not received $ 25,000 from the federal government and paid Floyd the bill directly. Floyd said he was never informed of the debt problem while on campus and that he had previously been unable to fix a clerical error. Initially, Floyd tried to pay Seton Hall 500 500 a month, but he was unable to pay for a low-paid temporary job without a college degree.
Floyd thought about going back to school but said that Seton Hall would not publish his copy until the loan was repaid. This prevents him from applying to another college with the credit he has already earned. He will have trouble taking student loans in the future without first resolving these loans.
Instead, Floyd Weathersfield, Connecticut, joined the police, graduating number one in his class at the Police Academy. He served 13 years, won two medals of gallantry, and was named Officer of the Year in 2010.
Knee injuries and surgery forced Floyd to leave the daily work of the police and go into long-term disability. “Now that I wanted to enter a new line of work, a new career, I knew a degree was important,” said Floyd. “It simply came to our notice then. After all that time, I wasn’t sure it would ever happen. “
Serendipity helped. Floyd met Patricia Steele, founder of Higher Aid Insight, through a mutual friend in the Weathersfield Police Department. Seton Hall made an initial call to Barসa to start a steel discussion. Seton Hall agreed to pay half the debt and Floyd repaid the rest. He was fortunate to have a retirement account from his years in the police force. “17, 18 years ago there was no loan available to cover the old balance,” Floyd said. “I see. If I had no retirement money, I would still be paying off that debt.”
A spokesman for Seton Hall University said the university’s goal is to be “helpful” and to work with students who are navigating challenging times.
After the settlement, Seton Hall released its transcript. Then, both the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford rejected him. Floyd suspects that Seton Hall had a lower grade. “I thought my later life experience and high achievement would help,” Floyd said. “Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be a factor in the equation.”
Charter Oak State College, an online college run by the state of Connecticut for adult students, accepted him in 2018. The college not only took all his credit from Seton Hall, it also gave him bonus credits for his studies and work at the Police Academy. Police force experience. With his debt behind him, Floyd borrowed $ 10,000 in new federal debt to pay off state public tuition. A charter oak advisor has planned various options for completing the degree. Floyd decided against a double major, which would take too long, but he wanted to retake some classes to increase his GPA.
Floyd took two accelerated classes at once, each lasting six to eight weeks. His advisers actively emailed him every time, planning ahead for his next schedule. “It was extremely efficient,” Floyd said. Learning online at home while on disability leave was manageable and he is doing well.
“I had a different level of maturity, and I had better study habits than I did when I first went to school,” said Floyd. “I knew how to budget my time.”
In March 2020, Floyd got a job. Collins Aerospace, an airline in the defense industry, hired him as a contract administrator in their propeller division. Floyd still had a few credits less than his degree but he gave up the last months.
“It was hard to work as a single parent with two kids and finish college,” he said. Her sister and her parents both lived nearby and helped take care of her children, now 12 and 13 years old.
In August 2020, Floyd completed her bachelor’s degree in college honors program with a GPA of 3.92 – almost a perfect straight. He was 40 years old. In June 2021, Collins Aerospace – which then became a unit of defense giant Raytheon Technologies Corp. – hired him as a full-time employee. “I’m sure it wouldn’t be on the table if I didn’t finish my degree,” Floyd said.
As luck would have it, Floyd is now working for a successor to the company that dropped his father and persuaded him to drop out of college in 2001. “I’m actually working for the same company,” he said. “It’s kind of funny.” She survived to see him graduate before her father died in late 2021.
Many elements of Floyd’s story are similar to what other respondents to the Higher Aid Insight survey have said. She had an internal drive to finish her degree, a supportive family who helped with childcare, a good college mentor who created an efficient schedule of courses that matched the life of a single father, a college that credited her for her work experience, access to federal student loans And a clear idea of how a college degree can help him professionally. But there are also varied details: meeting with a senior ad specialist who can consult a university administrator on his behalf and the misfortune of a disability that extends Floyd’s time to study.
Floyd is now considering returning to school and taking advantage of his employer’s tuition assistance to pursue an executive MBA in finance.
“It’s really rewarding to be able to show my kids that they’ll never give up,” said Floyd. “You can still achieve even if things don’t go your way. But the message I have for them is that you do it at a young age.”
The story of returning to college was written by Jill Barshe and produced by The Hatchinger, a non-profit, independent news organization focusing on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.