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Regents: Bring Back Adults Who've Dropped Out

July 6, 2010, 4:57 PM by Katie Janssen

SIOUX FALLS, SD - There's a new push in South Dakota to get adult learners back into the classroom.

The Board of Regents is in the midst of an initiative that targets students who've completed 90 credits or more, then left school; essentially those who dropped out during their junior year.

A study found that between 2003 and 2008, nearly 2,000 South Dakota college students dropped out during their third year with only around 30 credits left to go. They're numbers the Board of Regents and University Center Dean Mark Lee would like to see drop.

"That's the beauty of it.  The regents are accepting the fact that this is a population we want to reach, we want to serve,” Lee said. “We're ready to specifically look at how best to do that."

Officials have added a bachelor of general studies degree that just started this summer. They also plan to offer more online courses and flexible schedules. These are all things University Center already does, but Lee says most of the changes at the school would be in the form of policies and practices.

"Some of the academic policies, where you can take credits from, how many you have to have from a particular institution to graduate,” Lee said. “Some policies and practices in the admissions area that need review."

Lee says it'll also be important to put student services like admissions and financial aid in one place, so students don't get frustrated trying to find information.

"They want a clear, smooth path for that degree and we need to do everything we can to smooth the road for them," Lee said.

Lee says that because University Center already serves those students, the changes will only enhance what administrators are already doing.

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