Life happens: UD scholarship helps people earn degree after interruption

Corey Deel and her daughter, Zoe, pose for their first days of school: Deel went to Sinclair Community College and Zoe attended kindergarten. Courtesy of University of Dayton.

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Corey Deel and her daughter, Zoe, pose for their first days of school: Deel went to Sinclair Community College and Zoe attended kindergarten. Courtesy of University of Dayton.

A new scholarship through the University of Dayton aims to help people who have been out of school for several years to complete a college degree.

For Corey Deel, the Osher Reentry Scholarship helped her afford to get her degree in neuropsychology. She plans to graduate next year.

Deel gave birth to her daughter, Zoe, just out of high school. Deel said Zoe was her priority, so she put any plans to go to college on hold for a few years.

Those years were a struggle, Deel said. She was young and still growing up, and she had to help her daughter grow up at the same time.

“It took us a bit of time to get it figured out, but we’ve got it down pretty good now,” she said.

When her daughter got older, Deel decided to get her associate degree through Sinclair Community College. She said one of the greatest reliefs for her was completing the FAFSA, which shows what a student qualifies for in terms of federal aid. She said it helped her realize that college was financially feasible.

Deel and Zoe went to school for the first time on the same day: Zoe to kindergarten and Deel to her first day of classes at Sinclair.

“It was perfect,” Deel said of that day. “It was really sweet. And it was tough to like, suck up all my mama tears and go to class, but I had an hour gap and we made it happen.”

The Osher scholarship is meant to help students like Deel, who are academically talented but have been out of high school for at least five years. It’s meant to help close any remaining gap in funding that a student may need, said Jason Reinoehl, vice president for strategic enrollment management at UD.

“We do everything we can, to help in as many cases as we can, to help students find their way to Dayton,” Reinoehl said.

The scholarship is up to $5,000 for each student and began in 2020. Recently, the university got an additional $1 million gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation, which the university says will help expand the scholarship to more recipients. UD said each student receiving an Osher Reentry Scholarship has graduated or stayed in school since 2020, and the average cumulative GPA for Osher students is 3.42.

Reinoehl noted it is not a requirement that Osher scholarship students attend the UD Sinclair Academy, which lets students take classes through Sinclair that count towards a degree at UD and gives students access to both campuses, though many do.

Many other public universities in the area count a community college associate degree credit towards a bachelor’s degree, so students can start at Sinclair and transfer. UD is a private Catholic university.

Deel said she wanted more people to know that college can be affordable. It can be hard to take the first steps, she said, but it can be accessible.

“I really hope that people in the community feel like it’s also something that is in reach for them no matter where they are,” Deel said.

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