Summer Students Take Advantage of Kent State Tuscarawas Dislocated Worker Grant Program
Kent State Tuscarawas saw an increase in students this summer in part due to a special program for laid-off workers.
The Kent State University Tuscarawas Campus held an information session in March to provide details about a Tuition Assistance Program for recently laid-off or dislocated workers that was available for summer semester 2009.
The new program incorporates tuition awards and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds, as well as federal and state grants into aid packages for laid-off workers.
In order to qualify for the program, applicants must have been laid off from a full-time position after Jan. 1, 2008, be able to provide a letter of documentation to support the unemployment claim, have no prior bachelor’s degree and have not attended college within the last two years.
Fifty-four dislocated workers requested applications for the program. Of those, 14 prospective students applied for the summer term, and 10 of those students registered for summer classes.
Kent State Tuscarawas is still receiving applications for the program. The 10 summer students will continue taking classes in the fall, and an additional 18 prospective students have applied for the fall semester with eight currently registered for classes.
The impact of the program has been positive. The Tuscarawas Campus experienced a 111 percent growth in new students this summer over last year. Last summer, that campus welcomed 36 new freshmen and transfer students. This year, the summer number was 76. Seven of the additional 40 students were part of the dislocated worker program, and three former Kent State students came back to college through the program.
“The students enrolled are happy to have the opportunity to attend Kent State Tuscarawas with less of a financial burden,” Donley says.
After attending a Job and Career Expo in Tuscarawas County, where he received information regarding the Tuition Assistance Program from the Kent State Tuscarawas booth, Brian Cronebach applied for the program and began taking classes with a goal of becoming a registered nurse in mind.
Cronebach says that in the current economy, the chances of finding employment that matches his current skills and experience are slim, so he decided to look at being laid off as an opportunity to start over.
“I would tell others to look at the situation of being laid off as a chance to do something different and take advantage of programs that may be available to help with the cost of tuition,” Cronebach says. “The Employment Source is a great resource for information regarding your situation, and everyone is very helpful and understanding; Kent State Tuscarawas has also been very knowledgeable and helpful in guiding me through the financial aid process.”
The partnership with the Employment Source that distributes WIA funds to individuals without employment existed prior to the economic downturn and will continue indefinitely. Donley says at this point there is a limited amount of Kent State Tuscarawas dislocated worker grant funds available.
“We know we can continue the dislocated worker grant portion of the program through the spring 2010 term, and we are hoping to identify additional funds for the future,” Donley says. “We would like to see continued interest in the program so that we can assist as many individuals as possible.”
More information about Kent State Tuscarawas can be found on its Web site.
By Mary Jo Spletzer