COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Financial experts say the pandemic has presented a number of economic challenges for Ohioans, including many who dream of achieving a college degree.
Western Governor’s University Ohio is a nonprofit, on-line university in Ohio that is expanding its scholarship program and financial support for students impacted by Covid-19.
“We want to remove the excuse of that we may not have the finance or the access to go to school,” said K.L. Allen, WGU Ohio Chancellor.
Making a college education affordable and accessible for all Ohioans is the mission of the competency-based university.
“With Covid-19, it’s unpredictable, and with that unpredictability of it, it’s created a lot of unforeseen challenges with our students in higher education,” said Allen.
For this reason, the on-line university has created a number of support programs for students facing limited broadband access, unemployment, and covid-related financial concerns.
“So, whether entry-level employee or if they’re a manager looking to move to a director, we give them those applicable skills where they can be successful and if there are generational barriers, we also want to help remove generational barriers,” said Allen.
The grant aid from WGU Ohio helped Jennifer Gentry in her goal towards achieving a college degree.
“I got laid off from my healthcare job in April, so this was something that I could commit to as much time as I needed,” said Gentry.
As a busy mom who’s now returned to work, she still manages her courses at her own pace on-line at home.
“I could take it down to 5 hours a week instead of 20 hours,” added Gentry.
Since the start of the pandemic, the university has awarded close to 50 scholarships worth $100,000 to help those in financial need.
“They really do set you up for success, so you’ve got reading material, they give you videos, you can talk to an instructor,” said Gentry.
WGU Ohio says through its scholarship and grant programs, it hopes to close the skills gap and provide all Ohioans the opportunity to pursue in-demand jobs across the state.
“Invest in yourself, your family, your business, and that’s what moves generations forward and so, we want to continue to *not be an impediment, but we want to be a catalyst to improve our communities as well as the state of Ohio,” said Allen.