August 21, 2012

Second Chance at Education Begins for 50 Local Residents Through New Gateway to College Program at Owens

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Fifty local residents are taking advantage of a second chance to realize their fullest academic and career potential as Owens Community College recently welcomed its first Gateway to College student class with the start of the Fall Semester. Owens is the only academic institution in Ohio to offer the program, which serves students who have dropped out of high school or are at risk of dropping out.

For Gateway to College students Larisa Burton and Theresa Brazzel, the new educational program represents hope for a brighter future for themselves and their families.

“My goal is to be successful,” explained Burton, who resides in Toledo and has ambitions of a career in theatre. “I have had many struggles in my life. This program offers a big chance at getting both my high school diploma and a college education.”

“I really had a problem concentrating in high school,” stated Brazzel of Toledo. “I am excited that Gateway to College will provide me with the support that I need both academically and emotionally. My ultimate goal is to become a registered nurse. I know I can reach my goal.”

Owens’ first Gateway to College student class recently participated in a Gateway to College Kick-Off Ceremony at the College’s Learning Center at The Source in Toledo of which both Burton and Brazzel along with fellow Gateway to College classmates were in attendance.

In 2011, Owens was awarded a $325,000 start-up grant from Gateway to College National Network to implement Gateway to College, a nationally recognized dropout recovery program.

Gateway to College is designed for young adults ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of high school or are significantly behind in credits and unlikely to graduate. The program enables them to complete their high school diploma requirements while simultaneously earning college credit toward an associate degree or certificate.

Up to 150 students from Toledo Public Schools will be served through the program over the next three years. Students must meet specific criteria for entrance into the program and will be dually enrolled at Toledo Public Schools and Owens Community College until they complete their high school diploma. The program is free to students and covers tuition, fees and books, as well as lunch and transportation to the College’s Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo.

Students are placed into small learning communities during their first (Foundation) term, and together they take classes in reading, writing, math and college skills. After completing the Foundation term, students transition to the comprehensive campus, taking classes with the general student population. Throughout their enrollment in the program, students receive one-on-one advising and support from resource specialists who act as coaches, mentors and advisors. The wrap-around support of the resource specialist keeps students on the right track for success.

Students graduate from Gateway to College once they have completed their high school diploma requirements. Nationally, Gateway to College students accrue an average of 35 college credits by the time they graduate from the program, putting them well on their way to earning a college credential.

Owens is one of over 30 community and technical colleges across the country currently offering the Gateway to College program.

For more information about the Gateway to College program, call (567) 661-2850 or 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 2850, or e-mail at

Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Arrowhead Park Learning Center in Maumee and the Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit

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