Wayne State announced the launch of a program that will allow former students who did not complete their degrees to rid of outstanding debt by returning to school.
“We hope [WSU'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 Associate Vice President for Enrollment Engagement Dawn Medley on May 30 in a press release publicizing the initiative. “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.”
Former Warriors with an outstanding balance of less than $1,500 are eligible to reap the benefits of the Warrior Way Back Program. Returning students will see their unpaid dues slashed by 33 percent for every semester they complete until their debt is eliminated.
"While adult and returning students have always been key to our campus community, this is an important opportunity to recommit to this part of our mission of access and success," Provost Keith Whitfield said. "No other school offers the level of support that we provide to students on the scale at which we do."
The university is expecting 100 students to sign up for the program in its pilot year, said WSU spokeswoman Katie McMillan.
“So many students have their potential hindered because of the costs of tuition,” said Laki Ali, a junior and pre-pharmacy major. “Sometimes, students just need a second chance to continue their education without the burden of their past debts. [WSU's] Warrior Way Back is the second chance students need to succeed.”
Glynnis Blake, a business management student, returned to WSU in 2016 to complete her degree after leaving in 1995. Blake estimates she has over $8,000 in loans. She said this program encourages her to further her education.
"Thing's change, times change," Blake said. "Oh my gosh, [the Warrior Way Back program] would be a blessing actually... I would say it would bring a new culture [to campus] as well."
Nicholas Remedio attended WSU in 2005 and recently transferred back to the university.
He called the Warrior Way Back Program a “publicity stunt.”
“I doubt this program has any legitimacy other than a way to get more people to enroll,” he said.
An information session on the program will be held in the Welcome Center on June 28 — to RSVP, click here.
Omar Abdel-Baqui is managing editor of The South End. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.