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DSU center to target adults with unfinished degrees

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Delaware State University Riverfront Wilmington Delaware DSU

Delaware State University is partnering with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund on a new Joint Center for HBCU Non-Traditional Completion. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

DOVER – Delaware State University will partner with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black college community, to create a new program aimed at adult learners who started but didn’t complete a degree program.

The TMCF-DSU Joint Center for HBCU Non-Traditional Completion will reportedly be housed at DSU’s existing School of Graduate, Adult & Extended Studies.

It will use lessons learned from a three-year pilot program for adult learners and near-degree-completers, funded by grants from the Kresge Foundation and Ascendium Education Group. Outcomes from the pilot program will also inform ongoing program development and scaling efforts to other HBCUs seeking to enhance their recruitment and support of adult learners who have some college credits but who have not earned their degrees. In addition, the Joint Center will provide best practices on new college completion pathways for non-traditional students, including online completion and stacked credentials.

“Since their founding, HBCUs have always served diverse student populations,” said TMCF President & CEO Harry L. Williams, who is also a past president of DSU, in a statement. “As a result, there’s a collective knowledge about how to support learners whose journey to graduation veers from what society calls the traditional path. Studies have shown that despite serving non-traditional students, HBCUs outperform on measures related to economic mobility. This Joint Center for HBCU Non-Traditional Completion is just another example of the important leadership role HBCUs play in higher education and in the upskilling of the nation’s workforce.”

Terry Jefferies, assistant dean of the School of Graduate Adult and Extended Studies, will lead all programmatic efforts of the TMCF-DSU Joint Center for HBCU Non-Traditional Completion. She was the critical day-to-day implementer and manager of the Near Completers Pilot Project and will bring her institutional knowledge and experience to the Joint Center’s programs and strategies.

“It is becoming increasingly important for HBCUs to share best practices and innovative strategies in support of the students we serve,” Delaware State University President Tony Allen added in a statement. “Many HBCU students in the past have stopped out of college yet consider themselves part of the HBCU community. Our goal is to help them get across the finish line and earn their degrees so that they can increase their earning potential and advance in their careers.”

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