Temple College has received two grants that will help it launch a new initiative to support adults who want to return to college and complete an unfinished degree or credential.

A $293,090 grant from the Trellis Foundation will cover the cost of staffing the new program and a $750,000 Reskilling Grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will cover the cost of tuition and fees for program participants.

The initiative will target adults of any age who started college at some point but stopped out before earning a degree or certificate. It also will target graduates who could benefit from additional training, such as vocational nurses who would like to earn an associate degree so they could become registered nurses, or community members who became unemployed because of the pandemic and would like to come back to college for certification in a high- demand field.

“Our goal is to help adults complete credentials that will better enable them to prosper,” said Temple College President Dr. Christy Ponce. Dr. Ponce noted that the program is particularly timely since there are many adults who may need retraining now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trellis Foundation grant will cover the cost of a Step Up program coordinator and a part-time recruiter for returning students. The THECB grant will cover all tuition and fees for program participants who take classes during 2021. Qualified participants can receive up to $2,500 per semester.

Dr. Ponce said students can begin immediately in either credit programs or high-demand certificate programs offered through Temple College’s Business and Continuing Education Division.

The college plans to develop a new orientation program specifically for adult students and then make sure the students have frequent contact with faculty and staff members who will support their completion of a credential within the shortest possible time frame.

Some of the money from the Trellis Foundation grant will be used to provide professional development for Temple College faculty to provide them tools to better support adult students. After completing the professional development training, faculty members will be invited to serve as mentors to adult students and provide them with frequent communication.

The college also plans to purchase new software that will enable students to more easily transfer from non-credit to credit programs. Students will be met with a supportive environment helping them plan an academic and training plan along with a financial plan on helping cover the cost of their higher education.

“Research tells us that adult students are often intimidated by the campus culture in a way that younger students are not,” Dr. Ponce said. “We are dedicated to making college an inviting and comfortable experience for everyone.”

Dr. Ponce said the college hopes to enroll 500+ students through the new program. For more information on the program, including eligibility criteria, visit www.templejc.edu/comeback.