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February 8, 2007 :: New Statewide Program Offers Adults a Second Chance to Finish College

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A new statewide program will start this spring that could help thousands of Oklahomans return to college to finish their bachelor’s degrees.

“ReachHigher: Oklahoma’s Degree Completion Program,” was approved today by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to launch in March at nine of Oklahoma’s public universities across the state.

The universities that will offer the degree include: Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Cameron University in Lawton, East Central University in Ada, Langston University in Langston, Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Rogers State University in Claremore, Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, and the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

“This program is exactly what many Oklahomans have been waiting for,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Now they can finish their degree at their own pace, for an affordable cost, and it will be from one of Oklahoma’s public universities.”

ReachHigher is designed for adults who attended at least two years of college but didn’t complete a bachelor’s degree. Participants will take college courses in a flexible, adult-friendly format and, when finished, will have a Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership.

With a degree in organizational leadership, graduates will be prepared for job promotions, pay raises or new careers that require a bachelor’s degree. They will be equipped with communication skills, leadership concepts and other knowledge and skills that are relevant in the workforce.

State Regents’ Chairman John Massey praised the program for being responsive to the needs of Oklahomans and to the demands of today’s workforce.

“Businesses want to hire college graduates who are good communicators,” Massey said. “We heard this repeatedly in meetings and surveys with Oklahoma employers. This program was designed with that in mind, so graduates will have the skills that employers want.”

To qualify for ReachHigher, students must already have earned at least 72 credit hours, hold at least a 2.0 grade point average, be at least 21 years old and not enrolled as a full-time student for at least one year.

ReachHigher was created because more than 69,000 Oklahomans have attended college for at least two years but don’t have a bachelor’s degree. In 2004 the State Regents began exploring a program that would help these Oklahomans get a degree. Business and industry leaders, education officials and former students were asked for their input. It was determined that a business-based degree was needed and a collaboration of universities across the state should offer the program.

In 2006 the State Regents designated Northeastern State University in Tahlequah to lead other state schools to develop the ReachHigher program and design its curriculum. NSU organized statewide committees of faculty members and college officials that developed the program courses, coordinated their schedules and appointed advisors who will work with ReachHigher students.

Classes will begin this March and will cost about $138 per credit hour. Students can apply for the program by calling (800) 951-0768 or visiting www.reachhigheroklahoma.org.