Project ReAdmit helps college dropouts finish their degrees

By Josephine Brown

When Chantal Borgella started her college education in 2004 at Kean University, she did not anticipate that she wouldn’t graduate. But four years into her studies and only six credits from earning a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in public administration, she dropped out of college. Borgella has accumulated 122 credits as a double-major student.

“I was out of school for five years,” said Borgella. “I dropped out in 2008 due to financial reason. My parents could no longer afford to pay my tuition.”

Many students like Borgella have had to endure one barrier or another in their quest to earn a college degree. While some are able to overcome the different challenges faced, others resign to their fate and never earn a degree in their intended major. Incomes, family background and societal barrier have somehow played a role in preventing students from realizing their educational goals.

According to Complete College America, one out of two students seeking to attain a bachelor’s degree will not achieve it. Complete College America is a national nonprofit organization established in 2009. Its mission is to ensure an increase in “the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees.” The organization intends “to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.”

Borgella was able to return after five years of absence through the Project ReAdmit program created by Joy Moskovitz, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs at Kean. Project ReAdmit is a program aimed at helping former Kean students to return to school and complete their degree. The idea stemmed from a similar program featured in “Higher Education News,” a publication” that Moskovitz reads. The program’s outreach started at Kean in the fall of 2010, while readmission of its recipients began in the spring of 2011.

“I have brought people back from the 1980s to complete their college degree,” said Moskovitz. “With Project ReAdmit, the credit does not expire. Only their statuses as students expire.”

To be readmitted under this program, students must have earned at least 90 credits and been out of the school system for two years. Those serving in the military are also eligible. Students under Project ReAdmit are not required to meet the current program requirements. Their transcripts are reviewed to determine which catalog year would move them closer to graduation. It could be the year of their original admission, or the current catalog year. Their completed courses are adjusted to fulfill their present degree requirements. Moskovitz retrieved the records of former students who met the readmission requirements, and these students were then sent notices through the mail.

Borgella said she has never met Moskovitz, but did receive an email from her requesting that she return to complete her program.

“She just emailed me one day in 2010 and stayed on top of me until my return for the fall 2013 semester,” Borgella said.

The reapplication fee is waived under Project ReAdmit. Financial aid is granted only to those eligible for it and requires satisfactory academic progress to be approved.

While financial aid rejects students with failing grades, Project ReAdmit accepts them. Through the Academy Amnesty Policy, unacceptable grades of Project ReAdmit’s recipients are removed from their student record. These students are then allowed to take the course afresh. At the present time only College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as College of Visual and Performing Arts students, can participate in the Project ReAdmit program.

“But I hope to include others, like the College of Business and Public Management, in the future,” said Moskovitz. She said that a total
of 21 students have graduated since the inception of the program in 2011.

Borgella intends to graduate in the spring of 2014. She currently works as an Assistant to a Public Relations Manager and Director at the Epic Record Label in
New York. Borgella has expressed difficulty in juggling work and school. She is a full time employee as well as
a student.

“Being able to balance school and work is an obstacle in itself,” said Borgella, “but it teaches me time management.”

Josephine Brown, an adult student, graduated in January with a degree in Communication.

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