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Office: (567) 661-7421   Cell: (419) 351-5253

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Published 10/8/2004

Owens Participates in Nationwide Program Dedicated to Improving Student Success

Owens Community College has been chosen as one of only five community colleges nationwide to participate in an Opening Doors initiative that measures and analyzes the impact of personalized services on the success of non-traditional college students.

As part of a national study overseen by Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., each participating academic institution is charged with employing innovative resource strategies designed promote retention and accelerate credit hour completion among students attending two-year community colleges. The goal of the Opening Doors project is to design, implement and evaluate bold new forms of financial aid, enhanced student services and curricular and instructional advances.

In conjunction with this project, Owens Community College has created a new Owens Personalized Enhancement Network (OPEN) Program dedicated to providing heightened educational resources for underprivileged non-traditional students. The overall focus of the new OPEN Program will be to ensure that more non-traditional students succeed in their academic and career goals.

"Selection as a lead academic institution in the Opening Doors project is a direct reflection on Owens Community College's commitment to student learning," said Chip Campbell, Owens Director of Academic Enhancement and Counseling. "The new OPEN Program is an excellent resource to help non-traditional students pursue their higher educational goals and career aspirations. Participating individuals will have access to a variety of specialized services designed to enhance their academic success as Owens students."

Each student selected for the OPEN Program, by a random assignment research design, is assigned a personal adviser dedicated to helping that student achieve academic success. This Owens representative provides each student with internal, academic and financial resources and external community assistance, as well as individual support for financial aid applications. In addition, participating OPEN students receive free tutoring and a $300 scholarship for the 2004-05 academic year.

In order to qualify for the OPEN Program, prospective students must be between the ages of 18-34 years and hold a GED or high school diploma. Applicants cannot have earned an associate degree or higher and must have fewer than 13 hours of college credit. In addition, selection is based upon financial and academic criteria. The College currently has more than 220 eligible students serving as the program's first- ever participants during the current Fall Semester.

To be selected as an Opening Doors project participant, academic institutions must exemplify the alignment of state workforce, welfare and higher education policies to make innovation approaches possible. Colleges and universities must demonstrate a capacity to design and implement new policies and programs that can be rigorously evaluated. Additionally, higher education institutions need to show a commitment to participate in a multifaceted evaluation.

Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., a non-profit, non-partisan social policy research organization devoted to improving the well-being of non-traditional students, will evaluate each academic institution's new program initiatives by measuring their effects on educational and labor market outcomes relevant to student success. Among the outcomes to be studied are community college course enrollment, retention and completion; attainment of community college degrees and certificates; employment and earnings; transferability to four-year colleges and universities; family structure; peer networks and social connectedness; health outcomes, and civic engagement.

Other community colleges participating in the nationwide Opening Doors project include Lorain County Community College (Elyria, Ohio), Kingsborough Community College (Brooklyn, New York), Delgado Community College (New Orleans, Louisiana) and Louisiana Tech University (Ruston, Louisiana).

For more information about the College's OPEN Program, call (567) 661-7503 or 1- 800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7503.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 29 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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