New UC Merced program gives former students a 2nd chance to get a degree

Their goal is to get any student who started at a UC and had to stop - back on track for their degree.

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Saturday, August 27, 2022
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The UC Merced degree completion program rolled out in March with the goal to get any student who started at a UC and had to stop - back on track.

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- UC Merced is helping students return to college.

Their goal is to get any student who started at a UC and had to stop back on track for their degree.

It was back in 2010 that Liliana Barron started at UC Merced, but was never able to finish.

"I took a pause and got married, started my family," she said.

With two kids and a job she wasn't sure if college was still in the cards.

"I did want to go back," said Barron. "I've been wanting to go back for a long time but it was never the right time. It just seemed hard with my little ones."

When UC Merced came calling she couldn't refuse.

"The degree completion program reached out to me. I didn't even know I had an option or that it was a possibility," said Barron.

The UC Merced degree completion program rolled out in March of this year, and helps students who started at any UC school and got off track.

"We've essentially built this program to provide support and access to those students," said Director of the Degree Completion Program Michael Pierick. "We know that getting a degree will not only help them increase salary but also help with career advancement."

They then assist these students from start to finish with everything from financial aid to graduation requirements.

"They're the ones who are reaching out to you, taking care of you, it's amazing," said Barron. "It's a world of difference."

Helping students like Liliana get back in the classroom and moving towards that diploma.

"Growing up I told myself, I'm going to go there so now to be a student and to see my girls one day go to the same university, that's the ultimate goal," said Barron.

Liliana says the goal is to finish her degree in public health in two years and come back to work at UC Merced. The program already has re-enrolled 10 students and they want to see even more.

They have two information sessions coming up. For more details visit their website.

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