CHEYENNE, Wyo - Returning to college as an adult can be incredibly daunting, especially for those questioning how to afford school in addition to the reality of living expenses. It can often be a question of making hard choices that leaves behind those students interested in going to school or finishing a degree.
Rediscover LCCC changes that. This scholarship gives adults the opportunity to complete a college degree or certification in several fields. Available for three academic years (2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21), it’s hoped that this pilot project will serve up to 300 Wyoming adults.
Best of all, this scholarship covers all tuition and fees at LCCC for up to two years or four semesters for qualifying adults.
To qualify for this scholarship program, applicants must:
· Be at least 25 years old
· Be a current Wyoming resident who has lived in the state the past three years
· Have not earned any other degree
· Attend LCCC full-time and maintain a 2.5 GPA
· Complete and file an LCCC application, a Rediscover LCCC form, and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form
Applicants must enroll in specific programs, several of which are available online. Potential students can work with the college to see if these options are available as certificates, credit diplomas, or associate degrees. Programs are available in the following areas:
· Information Technology
· Legal Studies
Rediscover LCCC is intended to help demonstrate how a program like this could be implemented state-wide to re-engage adults into higher education as a strategy for raising educational attainment in Wyoming. Higher education attainment has become essential for personal and societal mobility, and experts estimate that the majority of jobs in the future will require education and training beyond high school.
However, Wyoming’s economy may be working against this effort. With historically low unemployment rates, most all working-aged adults are employed. Further, they have significant life obligations tied to their existing income. Thus, for these individuals to leave the labor force to pursue higher education they need significant financial assistance focused on this population. Yet this is something Wyoming currently does not fund at all in any meaningful way.
The Rediscover LCCC project intends to serve as a proof of concept for a broader, adult-focused financial aid program that the state of Wyoming could deploy to help achieve the attainment goals.
This scholarship program is made possible by a grant of $600,000 from the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, as well as an additional $200,000 from the LCCC Foundation.
Mary Garland of the John P. Ellbogen Foundation is excited to partner with LCCC on this program.
“We are committed to the people of Wyoming, their overall well-being and education. Our vision is to ‘empower the people of Wyoming to lead healthy lives in thriving communities.’ This gift is well aligned with that vision,” Garland said. “I’m excited to hear about the many students who will take steps to complete the work they started in their education, and how it will move them forward in their careers and life.”
According to LCCC President Dr. Joe Schaffer, last November the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees and the Wyoming Community College Commission formally adopted a statewide higher education attainment goal of 60 percent. The executive council of ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversifications Options for Wyoming) then formally supported the adoption of a statewide attainment goal leading to Wyoming Governor Matt Mead issuing an executive order stating Wyoming will achieve 67 percent post-secondary credential attainment by 2025 and 82 percent by 2040.
"Rediscover LCCC, with tremendous support from the Ellbogen Foundation, is primed to establish and evaluate a model that could be instrumental in achieving these goals,” said Jerimiah Rieman, director of economic diversification strategy from the governor’s office. “To reach this ambitious goal, Wyoming must encourage college attendance and address achievement gaps, including adult students. LCCC's swift action to tackle Wyoming's educational attainment gap is admirable and encouraging."
Wyoming has 87,034 working-aged adults with just a high school diploma and 56,149 with some college but no credential, according to the Lumina Foundation.
“If Wyoming were to help just one-quarter percent of these individuals to earn a credential, the state’s post-secondary attainment would jump from 48 percent to more than 60 percent,” Dr. Schaffer said.
To apply for Rediscover LCCC, call the LCCC admissions team at 307.778.1212 and specifically mention that you would like to participate in the Rediscover program. Additional information (including a complete list of programs) and forms are available at lccc.wy.edu/rediscover.