By Caroline Haviland
In an effort to bring adult learners back to college, Rider has received a grant through New Jersey’s “Some College, No Degree” program that will provide non-tuition aid for essentials, such as childcare and textbooks, to its participants.
The state introduced the program to higher education institutions to promote degree completion for college students who were close to finishing school, but were blocked by financial difficulties.
Sean Levin, director of graduate, continuing education admission and university partnerships, operates as the grant’s direct point of contact at Rider, as it falls under the continuing education enrollment program.
“Our goal is to provide students with resources to help these non-academic responsibilities in their lives, to then hopefully help them return to school and finish the degree they worked so hard for previously,” said Levin.
The grant was introduced to the university in late October 2023, and Rider received their award from the state in November 2023.
Seton Hall, Ramapo, Rutgers, William Patterson and Montclair State among others also receive aid through this grant. The amount awarded by the state varies based on enrollment size.
Once enrolled, the school works with students to obtain financial information regarding their external expenses and offers what they can provide each person specifically.
“The funding we provide is allocated for off-campus financial obligations that range from gas, childcare, home utilities, internet, groceries. We can find resources to provide monthly reimbursements to cover these costs,” said Levin.
To qualify for the program, participants must be 25 or older and have taken at least one semester off.
There are currently seven students enrolled at Rider through the program for spring 2024 and one student for summer 2024 until the grant’s statewide expiration.
“The grant officially ends on June 30, but we’re hoping to provide smaller items such as a gift card to the book store or a laptop to extend beyond that time for some students pursuing online modality,” said Levin.
Lindsay Smith, graduate recruitment specialist, works with students who apply for the grant to discuss their application, financial receipts and personal lives.
“They all loved their experience at Rider when they were here. For whatever reason, they had to leave, but they’re so excited to have the opportunity to come back,” said Smith. “This grant provides students with the chance to be proud of graduating soon, and some even discuss coming back for graduate school because they know how valued their Rider degree is.”