How Florida helps adult learners finish degrees

Approximately 2.2 million Floridians have some college credit but no bachelor’s degree
By: | January 30, 2020
In Florida, a program called Complete Florida helps adults find workplace training that may earn them college credits to help them complete a bachelor's degree.

For adult students who want to return to campus to finish their degrees, the Complete Florida program’s virtual college advisors offers a concierge model to answer questions and help learners find the quickest, most affordable route to graduation.

“The thing people are most fearful of is having to start from scratch and having to pay more than they have access to funds,” says the program’s director, Michelle Horton. “We really help them navigate those fears.”

There are approximately 2.2 million Floridians with some college credit but no bachelor’s degree. Complete Florida, whose virtual college advisors are working with about 2,500 students, partners with 20 colleges and universities, including online programs in high demand fields such as health care, IT and business.

The program’s virtual college advisors determine what credits or workplace training returning students have and how (and where) they can most efficiently complete a degree that will advance their employment prospects, Horton says.

Virtual college advisors work to get students credits for skills they may have learned in their careers and also guide them in testing out of certain courses. Coaches may also help students determine how to use any educational benefits offered by their employers.

“What we know about this audience is that they have a lot to consider and it takes more than an invitation to get them to return,” Horton says. “It takes multiple levels of outreach to say, ‘Hey, we’re here for you.”

Read our full feature on college advising trends.