6/23/17 ASHLAND, Ohio – The first three graduates of Ashland University’s “Second Chance Pell Program” received their associate’s degrees on Monday, June 19, at a Commencement ceremony held at the Mansfield Correctional Institution.
“These three are the first from the Ashland University Pell program to graduate since its inception in the summer of 2016, and to our knowledge the first in the country among higher education schools who received this grant,” said Jim Cox, who serves as site director for AU’s program at Mansfield Correctional Institution.
The "Second Chance Pell Program" is an online degree reentry program that enables qualified students to continue utilizing Pell Grant funding for one year after their release.
The ceremony included a keynote address by Todd Marshall, associate provost for the College of Online and Adult Studies at AU. Other speakers included David Webb, director of correctional programs at AU; Edward Sheldon, warden for the Mansfield Correctional Institution; and Jerry McGlone, interim director of the Gill Center at AU.
Webb and Jeremy Vogel, associate director of enrollment and financial aid for correctional programs at AU, conferred the degrees, while closing remarks were provided by Denise Justice, superintendent of the Ohio Central School System. Cox provided the welcome, pledge of allegiance and benediction, while the Rev. Vickie Taylor, director of Outreach Instructional Design at AU, provided the invocation.
Ashland University, which offers the longest operating postsecondary correctional program in the nation, established its Outreach Programs in 1964 to assist correctional students in making a successful reentry into society.
“These students began taking Ashland University classes through the long-established certificate program, which is funded through the State of Ohio,” Cox said. “The students then go through an application process for the ‘Second Chance Pell Program.’”
The Ashland University PELL Program is operational in Louisiana and West Virginia as well as Ohio, and currently has approximately 1,000 students enrolled in the Pell Program from these three states.
Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###