SUNY expands re-enrollment program for color students
An event at SUNY Old Westbrook to announce the expansion of the university system’s re-enrollment program. Photo provided.
March 02, 2021 – The State University of New York is expanding its re-enrollment program to every SUNY campus to increase graduation rates for low-income and colored students.
The Re-Enroll to Complete program is designed for students who dropped out of college before they are required to repay their federal student loans and asks them to re-enroll by offering them academic and financial assistance. The country piloted the program in 2018.
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said expanding the program will help fill the racial equality gap in education, a goal of the system’s action plan for diversity, justice and inclusion.
A An analysis by SUNY showed that color students had lower retention and graduation rates than the SUNY average. And student borrowers who are retiring from school are three times more likely defaulted on their loans as students graduate, the state said.
“One of the results of COVID, but before COVID, was enrollment. We have seen major challenges enrolling in higher education, but for me it’s not an enrollment challenge, it’s a justice challenge, ”Malatras said on February 1st at SUNY Old Westbury.
“I’m happy about it,” continued Malatras. “You have to invest in the areas that work. Getting our students to stay in college, graduate from college, avoid unnecessary student loan debt, avoid unnecessary default on their student loan, and keep them committed to careers is not just our mission, it is our moral obligation as educators . “
The program has re-enrolled nearly 20,000 students in SUNY schools since its launch at 28 institutions in 2018. Since then, funding for the program has expanded to 53 locations and will begin at the seven remaining SUNY locations. Programs that have already been established on other campuses receive additional funding for expansion.
Chanell Napier, a black student and senior at SUNY Old Westbury, said the program allows her to take online courses at the university while at work. After her sister’s sudden death, she took some time off for her mental health.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to come back,” said Napier. “But between my brother and my mother and my father and my significant other telling me you have to come back, you have to complete it. And that Old Westbury is like family to me to say you know what? Yes come back We have you Financial help there. Consultant, there. It’s a hidden blessing. “
Stony Brook University is one of seven universities that will join the program immediately. Judith Clarke, the University’s Chief Diversity Officer, helped SUNY develop the State Inclusion Action Plan. She said she was proud that Stony Brook University will begin participating in the re-enrollment program.
“You can’t get an interview unless you have a bachelor’s degree,” said Clarke. “And so often without this qualification you don’t even have the chance to be competitive among the workforce. So I think it is definitely something, and I know it, that will be of tremendous help to all students, especially color students. “