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Wayne State University is trying to entice former students who left without a degree to come back and complete their education.

That's why on Wednesday it announced a program to forgive up to $1,500 of debt for students to re-enroll and finish their degrees.

There are almost 700,000 people in the Detroit area with some college, but no degree, according to Wayne State officials. Among those are more than 12,000 former WSU students. 

“This innovative approach exemplifies Wayne State’s role as a leader in college access,” said WSU Provost Keith Whitfield. “In everything we do, we remain compassionate and committed to student success, making us the destination school for those who work hard to achieve more.”

The initiative, known as The Warrior Way Back program, will reduce a student's debt to the university by one-third at the end of each completed semester until the student has a zero balance.

The program will launch as a pilot in it first year, accepting 100 initially, said Katie McMillan, a WSU spokeswoman. 

“We hope Wayne State’s Warrior Way Back debt-forgiveness program will become a national model and revolutionize the widespread practice of account and transcript holds that have unnecessary punitive effects on low-income students and exacerbate racial education attainment disparities,” said Dawn Medley, associate vice president for enrollment management. “Many students are shut out of the path of higher education for small balances and never able to pursue their dream — we’re excited to reopen that path.”

kkozlowski@detroitnews.com

 

 

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