YSU Students Making a College Comeback

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The cost of college can hold students back from finishing their degree. But through the College Comeback program at Youngstown State University students experiencing financial difficulties a second chance at completing their degree.

“This program means a great deal to me,” said Emily Wiand, a 2023 Spring graduate. “It gave me the opportunity to learn how to benefit myself and create an environment catered to myself and my goals.”

Wiand is one student who took advantage of the opportunity to have amassed debt forgiven.

The College Comeback program helps students in two ways. First former YSU students who have amassed debt and are currently on a YSU payment plan can be eligible to return to YSU and to have a portion of the debt forgiven.

The second way is through the Ohio College Comeback Compact, through which students who have attended one of eight partner institutions and have a financial hold on their account with the Ohio attorney general may be eligible to continue their education at YSU with a reduction or elimination in money owed.

The Ohio College Comeback schools included Kent State University, Cleveland State University, the University of Akron, Stark State University, Lakeland Community College, Lorain County Community College, Cuyahoga Community College and YSU.

The two programs have slightly different eligibility requirements, but both pathways can result in up to $5,000 in debt forgiveness.

Those eligible for the College Comeback program include those not enrolled for three semesters and those in good academic standing. Additionally, applicants will need to complete their FAFSA and enroll for a minimum of six semester hours in fall or spring.

Wiand left YSU in 2019, but came back through the College Comeback program and graduated in May 2023 with an Associate of Arts. She now plans to return to YSU for her bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

The program helped her overcome thoughts she was going to being stuck in a dead-end job and aspired her to return to YSU where she said she always has felt the excitement of learning.

“Being able to take classes and have these learning experiences after a failed semester in 2019, the pandemic and other personal losses has given me a more positive outlook on the future,” explained Wiand. “It was truly something I needed for personal growth.”

 Another student, Michelle Douglas, has returned as part of the program and expects to graduate with a Bachelorette of social work by spring of 2024. Douglas had completed her Associates in social work in 2014.

Douglas said the program allows her to overcome road bumps and become more optimistic about her future.

“I believe the classes at YSU have helped to shape me as a person,” Douglas said.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.