"Last Mile" scholarship helps lapsed students finish degree

TCC is one of 19 colleges offering to pay for some former students to finish their final 12 credit hours.

By: Julie Montanaro/Eyewitness News
August 23, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- Tallahassee Community College students who left college before completing their degree may have a chance to finish it free of charge.

TCC is one of 19 community colleges in Florida participating in the "Last Mile Completion Program."

It tries to help former students who have 12 or fewer credit hours remaining to finish those final classes and get their associates degree.

"Many of these students left due to financial reasons, life reasons and thought they would never be able to come back and finish that last three of four classes," TCC Vice President of Student Affairs Sheri Rowland said. "This gives them that opportunity."

Rowland estimates as many as 250 people could be eligible for the Last Mile scholarship. At a cost of just over $100 per credit hour, she says, the scholarship could be worth more than $1200.

"This scholarship is kind of that last dollar," Rowland said. "We are offering to cover the tuition and fees of those last 12 or fewer credit hours."

Students must meet the following criteria for the Last Mile Completion Program:

  • Be a Florida resident
  • In good academic standing
  • Within 12 credit hours of completing their first degree
  • Have attended a regionally accredited post secondary institution within the past 8 years.

Rowland says getting an associate degree can be life-changing by helping graduates get into a better career or into a university to pursue a bachelor's degree.

"I think that AA or Associates in Science degree is the icing on the cake. It's showing completion. It's showing you persisted," Rowland said. "So it really is a game changer in the way that employers look at that credential as well as the way universities look at that credential, versus seeing a transcript with a lot of hours and no credential."

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the Last Mile will help those who had unexpected life changes.

"Sometimes our circumstances in life, whether they be family emergencies or finances, prohibit us from reaching milestones in the time we thought we would," DeSantis said. "The Last Mile Completion Program will provide comfort to those students who must put their degrees on hold, knowing there is a pathway and new re-entry point for them when they're ready to return. This program also benefits Florida when these students are entering the workforce prepared for their chosen profession."

For more information on the Last Mile Completion Program at TCC, follow this link.