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RIC’s ‘Finish Strong’ Gets Adults Back To Finish College Degrees

Monday, October 07, 2013


Joe Botelho went back to school and is finishing his degree with Rhode Island College's new 'Finish Strong' program. Photo: Rhode Island College.

Thanks to Rhode Island College's new "Finish Strong" program, former students who left RIC before finishing their degree are now getting a new opportunity to get their educational mission accomplished.

Any RIC student who left in good academic standing, has not attended another college since leaving RIC, and does not have any courses 10 years or older can be reactivated as degree students as part of Finish Strong. Students who have credits older than 10 years or who have attended another college since leaving RIC must go through the admissions process again, but RIC will waive the enrollment deposit for those students. RIC students who left with an outstanding financial obligation or were in academic difficulty will be able to work with a member of the resource team on personalized plans to become a degree student again.

Finish Strong puts a formal name to an effort that began in August 2011 and establishes a collaborative resource team comprised of representatives from admissions, financial aid, records, the office of academic support and information services and the Bursar’s office. Each representative is a specialist who can focus on the specific needs or barriers for former students to complete their degree. In further search of accomodating returning students' needs, RIC is working to increase the number of hybrid and online course offerings and the number of early-spring and summer session courses to allow flexible schedules.

Joe Botelho finishes strong

Joe Botelho, now 54 and a licensed real estate broker, was just two classes away from earning his bachelor’s degree when he left RIC in 1991 to pursue a business opportunity, and has returned this fall to complete his communications studies. Botelho will have his degree at the end of the semester. 

His decision, he said, was based on seeing throughout his professional life what the value of a college degree represents and to be a role model for his children, to whom he has long advocated the advantages of a college education.

Botelho said he had some degree of apprehension before starting classes, but the process of getting re-enrolled and organizing my return was made very easy by the academic advisement staff. And he's gotten right back into the swing of college life. "It feels great now that I am back," Botelho said. "I have some terrific professors and the younger students have all been very supportive."

Botelho said he thinks that Finish Strong is for anyone who has the desire. "They won’t regret it," he said.


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