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Colleges track former students to boost degrees

March 17, 2013 • National News


In this March 30, 2012 photo Allison Mitchell draws blood from Dwight Beeson at Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, Mo. Mitchell is one of nearly 300 Columbia College students who earned two-year associate degrees after the school tracked them down once they had left campus. The degree-completion program, known as Project Win-Win, began as a pilot project but has since expanded to more than 60 schools in nine states. (AP Photo/Columbia Daily Tribune, Ryan Henriksen)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Carmen Ricotta knows being a college graduate could mean higher pay and better job opportunities, and it’s not like St. Louis Community College hasn’t been practically begging her to wrap up her two-year degree.

The school has been calling and emailing the 28-year-old electrician’s apprentice to get her to return and complete her final assignment: an exit exam. But life has gotten in the way and Ricotta has been too busy to make the 30-minute trip from her suburban home near Fenton to the downtown St. Louis campus.

St. Louis Community College is among 60-plus schools in six states taking what seems like an obvious but little-used step to boost college graduation rates: scouring campus databases to track down former students who unknowingly qualify for degrees.

That effort, known as Project Win-Win, has helped community colleges and four-year schools in Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin find hundreds of ex-students who Login to read more

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