University of Memphis Program Helps Students Cross the Finish Line

August 9, 2016

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Many colleges and universities across the country are looking for effective ways to boost completion rates and help the millions nontraditional students who have some college credit but no degree.

The University of Memphis Finish Line Program is an example of one initiative that has seen success with its efforts to reach out to students who have “stopped out,” abandoning their dreams of a college education.

Angela Bell
Recent University of Memphis graduate and Finish Line Program participant Angela Bell.

The program targets students who previously attended the University of Memphis and completed 90 or more credit hours before halting progress toward their degree, often because they exhausted financial aid and/or because of related circumstances such as needing to work full-time to support a family. Some 220 students have graduated since Finish Line was launched in the fall semester of 2013.

Granting credit for prior learning (CPL) is a central component of the program’s strategy to spur students to complete their degrees, with about 70 percent of the credit hours generated through the program coming from CPL options such as ACE credit recommendations.

ACE military and workplace college credit recommendations are two of the ways that the Council has for years worked in the CPL arena. The University of Memphis is part of the ACE College and University Network, a group of more than 2,000 higher education institutions that consider ACE credit recommendations and other credit for prior learning options for transfer to degree programs.

The Finish Line Program has been recognized a number of times for its accomplishments, including in a report earlier this year by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities about how universities can use micro-grants to assist low-income students nearing graduation complete their degrees. Click here to see what a number of Finish Line graduates say about the program.

At a Glance:

ACE Member Institution: The University of Memphis

Program: The Finish Line Program

Student Eligibility Criteria:

  • Have 90 or more earned credit hours
  • Have previously attended the University of Memphis but have had a stop-out period of at least one semester (fall or spring)
  • Have an overall and University of Memphis grade point average of at least 2.0
  • Have a maximum of 30 credit hours remaining

Become a member: As a member of ACE, you join more than 1,600 college and university presidents and executives at related associations, institutions and organizations that collectively promote, protect, and advocate for students, faculty and administrators in higher education. ACE is the major coordinating body for the nation’s higher education institutions, and is the only major higher education association to represent all types of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions: two-year and four-year, public and private, nonprofit and for-profit. See more on the ACE website.

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