A few days later she received news that would change the course of her life. Her success coach, James, was able to secure an ASU scholarship that—given her excellent grades and unique situation—would allow her to finish her degree. “I just cried,” she said. “It was like a miracle.”
What’s remarkable, though, is Klaric’s tenacity, and the tenacity of thousands of online students who are working every day to earn their degrees online despite what life has thrown their way. For many of these students, they must find the time to study while working full or part-time, raising kids or caring for a family member, and many are doing so without the resources offered by most traditional ground schools.
Over the past 20 years, it is estimated that more than 31 million students have attained some college credit but no degree. What happened? “The truth is, for many of these students it’s not about their aptitude or their desire to earn a degree,” said Phil Regier, Arizona State University Dean for Educational Initiatives and CEO of EdPlus. “Something happened, life got in the way – and if we’re not finding a way to help these students earn a degree in a way that fits into their life and providing the resources they need to succeed, it’s a huge waste of human capital.”
Providing an academic advisor is a first step, but universities that are providing coaches, many of whom are paired with a student throughout their entire educational journey to help students navigate life and logistical challenges, see the best student outcomes. Online students are often stepping back into school after many years and need that support and encouragement to feel at ease. These coaches later become a lifeline as students juggle life with studying and coursework.