YSU College Comeback Program provides second chance

The College Comeback program at Youngstown State University gives students experiencing financial difficulties a second chance at completing their degree.

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

The College Comeback program helps in two ways:

  • Former YSU students who have amassed debt and are currently on a YSU payment plan may be eligible to return to YSU and for a portion of the debt to be forgiven.
  • Through the Ohio College Comeback Compact 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 and reduce or eliminate money owed.

The two pathways for completion have slightly different eligibility requirements; however, both pathways can result in participants receiving up to $5,000 in debt forgiveness.

Wiand, who left YSU in 2019, graduated in May 2023 with an Associate of Arts through the College Comeback program.

“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.”

Wiand plans to return to YSU for her bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

“This program helped pull me out of a place in my life where I thought I was going to be stuck in a dead-end job. YSU has always been a place where I have felt excited to be and eager to learn,” said Wiand. “I was never someone with academic goals and YSU fostered a dream for myself to aspire to something greater.”

With the College Comeback program, students have the opportunity to complete their degree while working to have their debt forgiven.

Michelle Douglas, a student who graduated in 2014 with an Associate Degree in Social Work, has now returned to campus through the College Comeback program and expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work by spring of 2024. Douglas explained that while her journey was difficult, YSU gave her tools to succeed.

“My journey has included road bumps; however, I am optimistic. I believe the classes at YSU have helped shape me as a person,” Douglas said.

Ohio College Comeback Compact partner institutions include Kent State University, Cleveland State University, University of Akron, Stark State University, Lakeland Community College, Lorain County Community College, Cuyahoga Community College and YSU.

To inquire regarding eligibility, visit the College Comeback website. Additional inquiries can be sent to Molly Burdette via mmburdette@ysu.edu.