SMWC Supports New Initiative for Adults to Complete College Degrees

February 23rd, 2016 | SMWC


Amy Munguia, 2015 Woods Online graduate

Recognizing that economic and personal circumstances can often interrupt a college education in progress, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College supports the “You Can Go Back” initiative by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. This initiative is an effort to reengage more than 750,000 Hoosier adults who have college credit by providing pathways and incentives for degree completion. Indiana’s goal is to increase the percentage of Hoosiers with education beyond high school to 60 percent by 2025.

Many may have left for a number of reasons – financial concerns, work obligations or family responsibilities. The initiative advocates for financial assistance, flexibility and seamless transfer policies – all of which Woods Online at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) offers.

The lack of a degree caused frustration for Amy Munguia, of Indianapolis, Ind., a 2015 Woods Online graduate. Her dream was to be the director of a halfway house yet it was impossible to achieve without a degree.

“My goal was to purchase the facility and to be the executive director of the non-profit. I had the determination and the drive but I needed the degree to make it a reality,” Munguia explained.

On her way to completing her degree in Woods Online, her family became her top priority.

With the custody of three family members and the birth of her twins, she put her education on hold but not for long. Highly motivated, she returned to The Woods to complete her undergraduate degree in psychology and is currently enrolled in the SMWC Master of Leadership Development program.

From start to finish, Woods Online provides a “One Stop Shop” approach for the adult learner. This approach is more than a cliché. It is rooted in the distinctiveness of the SMWC student experience. Admission staff helps each adult learner through the process including financial aid, transcripts, registration, military benefits and many other functions. With a true focus on customer service, this concierge style limits the number of offices students need to visit.

“The model of a single point of contact provides personal assistance to help students with any services they need,” said Brennan Randolph, vice president for enrollment management. “A college education opens so many opportunities. We are here to help them achieve that goal every step of the way,” he added.

Enrolling adults is just the beginning. Woods Online provides a full suite of academic support services to enable students to be successful. Students are empowered through accessible faculty, academic advising, online tutoring, career counseling, peer mentoring and alternative ways to earn credits.

“I appreciated that the professors and staff understood the challenges of adult students,” Munguia recalled. “Their flexibility made all the difference.”

In addition, the College sites its recognition by U.S. News & World Report as one of the 2016 Best Online Undergraduate Programs in the country as an affirmation of its online program. SMWC attributes this acknowledgement to rewarding experiences, student engagement, faculty credentials, student services and technology. Currently, students in 32 states and two countries are continuing their education through Woods Online.

For more information about Woods Online visit http://smwc.edu/online-degree and for more about You Can Go Back visit http://www.youcangoback.org