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Community college gives students a second chance

Program helps students finish their degree
Lauren Richardson, Jonie Ditzler, Rob Abercrombie and Rachael Sproul check vitals on a mock patient during a nursing class at Southwest Community College in Mancos in Fenruary.

Pueblo Community College is giving students an opportunity to return to school to finish their degrees.

The initiative provides scholarships for students who had to leave PCC shortly before graduating but want to re-enroll.

The Return to Earn Program began in 2016 after PCC received a grant from the Quarterly Forum organization. That grant was matched by the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative through the Colorado Department of Higher Education, according to a news release. The foundation used the grant to solicit more donations for the program.

“These students are on a fast track to finish their degrees and move immediately into our workforce,” PCC Foundation President Paul Willumstad said.

According to the release, 194 students have re-enrolled, and 113 will be PCC graduates at the end of this semester. The average age of a Return to Earn student is 33, the news release said.

For students with a grade of C or higher and have not been sent to collections, their debt is erased. One-on-one assistance is provided.

Program director Richie Ince told The Journal in an email that students can get started with Return to Earn by calling his office at 719-549-3202. There are no deadlines, and staff will work with students until the start of the fall semester.

“These scholarships are first-come, first-serve, so time is of the essence as there are only a limited number of scholarships,” Ince wrote.

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