Ep. 47: New Approach to Debt Forgiveness at Wayne State University w/ Dawn Medley

Ep. 47: New Approach to Debt Forgiveness at Wayne State University w/ Dawn Medley


– [Man] Helix. (pleasant music) – Across higher ed, there are
more than 34 million students with some college credit
but no credential. Talk about how you are attempting to help solve this problem in part with your Warrior Way Back program. – We discovered that there
were 690,000 students, just in the Southeast Michigan area, who had some college, no degree. And we found a large
chunk of those students had past due debt to institutions. That’s a unique population. Because federal financial aid dollars cannot pay for a past debt. It can only pay for a current
semester’s enrollment. Every higher ed institution in the nation holds that transcript hostage. We will not release that
transcript until a student has paid off their past
due balance in full. And what we’re essentially doing is we are locking them out of
the higher education world. They can’t get their transcript, they can’t re-enroll,
they can’t do anything. Currently at Wayne State if
the student owes a balance of $1500 or less, we
allow them to go ahead and we lift that hold and we allow them to continue on with their education. For every semester they’re re-enrolled, and that they are successfully
moving toward graduation or toward a degree, we forgive
a third of that balance. – In your view, is this
more of an access move or is it a really creative
enrollment growth strategy based on the ROI you’re able to get back from the tuition revenue that’s
coming from those students who end up re-enrolling who may not have. – Eric, you’re letting all my secrets out. (laughing) So it’s both, it really is both. The problem in the state of Michigan and pretty much in the Midwest, is the birth rate’s declining. And so as pressures grow
on enrollment managers to increase our overall
enrollment at our institutions, there aren’t enough
students to fill the seat. So if I have 690,000 people out
in the greater Detroit area, who I can re-engage with higher
education, why wouldn’t I? (pleasant music)

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