Community colleges are revving up a new grant-funded initiative that will help baby boomers who started college but didn’t finish reach their dreams. Southwestern Illinois College was among 11 colleges recently selected by the American Association of Community Colleges to participate in the Plus 50 Completion Strategy.
The colleges involved with the initiative will strive to increase the number of students age 50 and older, especially those with some prior college credits, to complete credentials and degrees that will help them get hired. The new completion effort builds on AACC’s Plus 50 Initiative, which has devoted the last three years to helping colleges improve services and support for baby boomers.
As part of the Plus 50 Initiative, SWIC offers several resources for new, returning and prospective students. The college has developed orientation sessions, college workshops and a support group to help students get acclimated to SWIC. A support center is also available for students who want one-on-one assistance.
“Our goal is to make the college experience as easy as possible for students over 50,” said SWIC Plus 50 Committee Chair Vicki Rose. “Whether it’s a question about the enrollment process, deciding which classes to take or simply becoming familiar with the college experience, we are here to help.”
This initiative will provide opportunities for SWIC to expand programs and services for the 50-plus population. The expansion will include degree, certificate and noncredit credential completion.
“Community colleges are increasingly providing more support and services tailored to meet the needs of older students who want to come back to school,” said AACC President Walter G. Bumphus. “If you started a degree or certificate and then stopped, or you are thinking about starting a new course of study, now is a great time to come back to community college. Coming back to college can help you upgrade your skills and make you more competitive in the job market.”
The Plus 50 Completion Strategy is funded with a four-year grant from Lumina Foundation. The grant to the AACC is part of a commitment by Lumina Foundation involving 19 organizations working strategically to help adult learners complete college. The Lumina Foundation grant builds on the successful Plus 50 Initiative launched by the AACC in 2008 and funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies. Support from The Atlantic Philanthropies augments the new Plus 50 Completion Initiative.
For more information about the resources available at SWIC for students over 50, contact Vicki Rose at 618-234-4410, ext. 7023, or firstname.lastname@example.org.