ARCHBOLD — Northwest State Community College is enrolling students in a free, online program to help adults earn a high school diploma.

Limited spots are available for those who are at least 22 years old in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Van Wert or Williams counties, where nearly 10% of adults do not have a high school diploma.

“We never stop looking for ways to make a difference in the lives of people in our community, and people who haven’t yet earned a diploma are a big part of our community,” said Dr. Michael Thomson, president of Northwest State. “The difference in earnings alone is substantial — we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars over a person’s lifetime. We can change that.”

The program has been offered at Northwest State since 2018, and many past graduates are not only first in their families to earn a high school diploma, but have gone on to become college students, including at Northwest State.

“It’s so heartening to see that,” said Thomson, himself a first-generation college student. “It’s a true testament to the exponential power of educational opportunity.”

To qualify, students need to have completed at least some of the 10th grade, but not have earned a diploma or GED.

After enrolling in the program, students will have their high school transcripts evaluated by a re-engagement counselor, who then helps map a course for graduation. At that point, the students are introduced to an academic coach, who will help them stay on pace toward their graduation goal.

“This can be a big challenge,” Thomson said, “but it is not a challenge our students will face alone. If you have a dream, this program offers tremendous support to help you achieve it.”

Students may apply for the scholarship at NorthwestState.edu/22plus/.

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