How Melanie returned to finish her University of Memphis degree with courses from Saylor Academy

Student Savings Tops $500,000 with Saylor courses at University of Memphis.

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Portrait of Melanie Williams wearing graduation cap and robes. “No matter how difficult it got I was determined to finish.”

Melanie Williams

Like most students, Melanie Williams started down her path to a degree at the University of Memphis full of excitement and possibility. She enjoyed the academic life at Memphis and progressed into her final year. Then trouble arose.

Hit with an unexpected financial crisis, Melanie had to withdraw just shy of her goal of earning a degree. Melanie vowed to return someday to finish, even though at the time she wasn’t sure how she would manage it. Someday turned into a few years.

That scenario is quite common at colleges and universities across America. But, the University of Memphis has created a lifeline to help students like Melanie who had to “stop out” well into their degree path just short of graduation.

“Project Finish Line” targets students who previously attended the University and completed 90 or more credit hours, but had to suspend their studies, most often because they have run out of financial aid and exhausted personal resources. As part of this degree completion program, Memphis directs these students to low cost “alternative” college credit providers to help students complete the last leg of their degree journey.

We are proud that Saylor Academy courses are part of this impactful program and, most importantly, that Melanie has now earned her degree! She proudly walked the stage to accept her diploma at the August graduation ceremony a few weeks ago.

Here is what Melanie had to say:

“I didn’t know anything like [Saylor] existed. When the University of Memphis directed me to the site, I kept thinking that this was amazing and no matter how difficult it got I was determined to finish. Saylor is absolutely inspiring to those in need. If you are a student, returning to school, or whatever your situation is — this is for you. I like the self-paced courses. But, I also had lots of email contact with Saylor and with the student forum so I didn’t feel alone.”

We are excited for Melanie and all of the Memphis students who have completed Project Finish Line. Over the last few years of this partnership, students have completed 522 Saylor courses, earning 1,565 credit hours at a total cost savings of $527,876. Over 300 students now have a degree that they did not know how they were going to be able to complete.

This program is easily replicable at any college or university in the country. In addition to serving “stop out” students, a program like this can be part of an early intervention for students struggling to carry a full course load each semester or who are otherwise on the brink of stopping out for financial or other reasons.

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