YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University is partnering with other schools in the region to help students complete their degrees. The target is students who have unsettled debt.

Getting a college education can be tough. Studies are one thing, paying for it is another. YSU wants to help students who have credits but never finished.

“And now, a couple years later, they may have more of an incentive to come back but they owe money,” said Jeanne Herman, with YSU Registrar.

Those are stranded credits because the university holds the transcript.

These students may move away but they don’t go far.

The university is working with seven other schools in Northeast Ohio with the goal of getting them back in school.

  • Cleveland State University
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • Kent State University
  • Lakeland Community College
  • Lorain County Community College
  • Stark State College
  • The University of Akron

“In order to do that, help them relieve debt and we need to find an appropriate program,” Herman said.

The schools want to help the students find a program that fits them and entices them to continue their education.

One estimate for Northeast Ohio is that 60,000 students have credits and were working toward degrees before life happened, according to Ithaka S+R.

“I really hate to hear students say, ‘I went to YSU and I got nothing out of it.’ I’m hoping we can turn that around and it becomes a lot more meaningful, their experience,” Herman said.

The university and other schools involved want to begin outreach to students in the spring. Students could begin to re-enroll starting in the fall.

“It’s academically but it’s also financially, so it’s planning on both levels. I think if we can do that and work with them, I think they have a better chance,” Herman said.

The plan is a college comeback.

YSU also plans to work on a program to settle debt with its own students who want to re-enroll.