Fresh Start Program at Trumbull Offers Chance to Enter College for Free After Job Loss
Dr. Randi Schneider, director of enrollment management at the Trumbull Campus, said in an article in the Daily Kent Stater that the Fresh Start program has been a great experience for everyone at Kent State Trumbull, and the campus worked very hard to make the new students feel welcome.
The Fresh Start program was offered to new students who had been laid off because of the poor state of the economy. Applicants had to provide documentation that the layoff was from a full-time position and had occurred since Oct. 1, 2008, and was the result of the economy — not the fault of the employee. The students could not have attended any college or university within the past three years.
The scholarship offered through the program allowed a new student to enroll in up to 12 credit hours at Kent State Trumbull for free.
Schneider said when campus administrators first held meetings to discuss the program, they estimated the number of students who might take advantage of the scholarship. They were pleased when the expected number of 30 grew to 112 students enrolled in the Fresh Start program.
"Based on other schools with similar programs, we estimated the number to be around 30 and it grew way beyond that," Schneider says. "I think the number is indicative of the economic climate in our area as Trumbull and Mahoning counties have some of the highest unemployment rates in the state."
Students in the Fresh Start program represent more than the local area. They come from Cleveland, Mentor, Akron and Canton. Many drive an hour to attend their classes.
A large number of the Fresh Start students, 63 percent, have had previous college experience. Those having some college include eight with baccalaureate degrees, 29 transfers from other institutions and 29 former Kent State students returning after at least three years. Approximately 35 percent of the new students have never attended a college or university.
The new students were recently asked to complete a survey so the Trumbull Campus could get a better feel for the success of the program. Out of the 112 students enrolled in the program, 48 responded to the survey.
Of those who responded, 27 said their overall experience with the Fresh Start program at Trumbull was excellent and another 14 felt their experience was above average.
Students wrote many positive comments on the survey including "My experience has been amazing to this point," and "The course material has been very relevant."
Some of the students, 44 percent, intend to continue working toward a degree at the Trumbull Campus. An additional 11 students intend to pursue a degree at another Kent State campus closer to home, and many students have already registered for summer classes.
"We are thrilled with the students who have entered the program," Schneider says. "They are motivated to learn and excited about the opportunity that has been provided to them."
Although the campus has not yet announced plans to admit new Fresh Start students in the fall, current students have an opportunity to take classes in the summer.
"We will be providing the current Fresh Start students with a scholarship that will cover up to two summer classes at the Trumbull Campus," Schneider says. "As long as the students earned a 2.0 or higher in their spring coursework, we will consider their application to take classes this summer as part of the Fresh Start program."
See some Fresh Start students offer their perspectives on the program in this week's video.
More information about Kent State Trumbull can be found online.
By Mary Jo Spletzer