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Morgan State University has created a college to re-enroll college dropouts

High school was something Robin Golden slid through without much effort. She had intended to forego college and enter the workforce right away after graduation in the spring of 1981.

She was enraged when her father, a professor at Baltimore's Morgan State University, registered her for school there that fall. Her GPA was 1.8 when she left after two years because she didn't want to go.

Golden, however, came to the realization that perhaps her father was correct and that perhaps she needed to obtain a college degree after years of feeling underpaid and undervalued in a variety of professions.

With a resolve she lacked at 18, Golden started taking online courses in 2018 while maintaining a full-time job, first at an Ohio community college and then at Morgan State. She graduated from the community college with an associate's degree and a 3.8 GPA. At Morgan State, she was on the dean's list.

Golden, 59, earned a bachelor's degree in applied liberal studies with a specialization in sociology on Saturday, 41 years after enrolling at Morgan State as a freshman.

The applied liberal studies degree at Morgan State is intended for adult learners who started their college careers but left before completing it. It was started five years ago, and as a result, the College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies, which opened its doors this spring, was able to develop. It will provide many of the same resources that helped returning adult students thrive, but it will now function as a separate division of the college that is accessible to students from around the nation at in-state tuition rates.

The 39 million people in this country who have started some college courses but never finished them are the focus of numerous programs. Those returning to Morgan State may have completed a few courses before running into problems with their families, their health, or their finances, or, like Golden, they may have required some time away before realizing the importance of college and committing to it.

According to Nicholas Vaught, the interim assistant dean for academics and student achievement in the College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies, these students aren't labeled failures because they didn't graduate with a bachelor's degree the first time around. "They've already received academic credit, which makes them successful. They are already ahead because of that. We simply want to offer them the support and freedom they need to complete the task.

Vaught claimed that Morgan State, a historically Black university, established its program expressly for adults who are frequently juggling employment and family obligations while attending school, as opposed to retrofitting the conventional four-year bachelor's degree program.

In order to make the bachelor's degree more affordable, the program awards credit for prior job experience, provides flexible online sessions, and charges in-state tuition rates to all students, regardless of whether they reside in Maryland.

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