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Kean University

New Program at Kean Aims to Bring Students Back to College

Kean campus in spring shows students among flowering trees

Kean University has joined a partnership launched by the state Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) to engage adults who left college without earning a degree and encourage them to resume their studies and graduate.

More than 750,000 New Jersey residents have some college credit but no degree, according to OSHE. Through the Some College, No Degree program, Kean and 16 other colleges and universities in the state will work to identify, reach and engage those students.

“Kean University is committed to encouraging all students to achieve their greatest potential – to earn their degrees and to achieve success in whatever they dream,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet, Ed.D. “This important partnership is another tool to accomplish that.”

There are many reasons that students make the decision to leave college, including financial hardship, shifting career goals, and family needs. 

Kean Senior Vice President for Administration Michael Salvatore, Ph.D., said recent data compiled by the University’s Division of Strategic Analytics and Data Illumination showed more than 13,000 students left Kean in the past twenty years without attaining a degree from any institution. 

Kean's admissions unit and transformational learning team will work with ReUp, an education company contracted by OSHE, to engage adult learners who had a disruption in their life plans and had to put their dreams of finishing college on hold, he said.

“This process of re-engagement is different because their existing life circumstances are examined and degree paths are matched accordingly,” Salvatore said.  

“At Kean, we realize the value of a degree, and it’s not just increased earnings in a lifetime,” he said. “We want to help people meet their potential in the classroom, but more importantly in their lives, and it’s never too late to start.”

The partnership supports the state’s goal of having 65 percent of working-age New Jerseyans achieve a high-quality credential by 2025.

“By investing in the statewide Some College, No Degree initiative and partnering with the right groups to implement this important program, we are helping smooth the transition for adult learners who left college – even years ago – and are now going back to complete their degrees,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Brian K. Bridges, Ph.D., said helping adult learners return to college and complete their degrees will be life-changing for them and their families.

“As we have expanded affordable pathways to college, through programs like the New Jersey College Promise, we want adult learners to realize the new opportunities available since they last attended,” he said.

Governor Murphy’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2024 recommends additional funding for Some College, No Degree to continue building on the foundational year of the program.

In addition to Kean, the institutions participating in the year one pilot cohort include: Rutgers University-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey City University, Stockton University, William Paterson University of New Jersey, Thomas Edison State University, Saint Elizabeth University, Camden County College, Essex County College, Hudson County Community College, Middlesex College, Passaic County Community College, Rowan College at Burlington County, Salem Community College, Sussex County Community College, and Union College of Union County, New Jersey.