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Morgan State Launches College for Returning Adult Learners


Wednesday, June 8, 2022   

Colleges and universities have had to rethink higher education in the pandemic, and make the learning experience more flexible. A new program at Morgan State University focuses on degrees for adult learners returning to school.

Its College of Interdisciplinary and Continuing Studies offers non-traditional students, returning students, working adults and others the chance to finish a degree, drawing in part from their own knowledge and professional experience. Nicholas Vaught, Morgan State's interim assistant dean of academics and student success, said they can be transfer students or former students who attended anywhere from two to 40 years ago.

"I think one of the things that is going to drive students to programs isn't just how easy is it to register," he said, "but, 'Do I have someone to talk to at the university? Do I have an adviser who knows me?' I think that's going to really set us apart."

Vaught said students can transfer up to 90 credits toward their degree and can take classes on campus or online. The college launched its first cohort this past spring with about a dozen students. For the fall semester, Vaught said they are on track to admit about 200.

A report from Gallup and Lumina Foundation revealed that about one-third of bachelor's degree students recently have considered "stopping out" of school because of personal challenges. Vaught said interdisciplinary programs have broader requirements, which can help make a degree more attainable.

"These are folks working full-time, sometimes with young children or grown children," he said. "We can work with students as, 'Hey, I can only take two classes at a time, because I know the time commitment that's going to take. But I'm going to find a degree pathway that's going to allow me to still move through efficiently but not be overloaded.'"

Morgan State's interdisciplinary program offers eight undergraduate degrees in subjects such as engineering, information and computational sciences, and health and human services. It also offers five masters and five Ph.D programs. Vaught added that the in-state tuition rate will apply to all students in the college, regardless of their residency status.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

Report Gallup/Lumina 2022

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