Return to School and Complete Your Degree with Reach Higher Published December 16, 2019

reach-higher-girl-at-computerLife happens. Finances run short. Family obligations take precedence. Things come up… There are a million reasons why students may not finish their degree. In fact, only 39.2% of students who enrolled at a two-year college in 2012 completed their degree, according to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse.

If you’re in the majority who left their degree unfinished, but have thought about returning to school, know that you have options. Whether you’re looking to finish your degree to increase your earning potential or to set yourself on a new career path, the Oklahoma Reach Higher program through Rose State College makes it easy to apply college credits you’ve already earned toward an associate degree. No matter where you are in life, we’re here to help you reach your goals.

What is the Reach Higher Program?

Reach Higher is a statewide program designed for adult students, like you, who have partial college credit and wish to complete their associate degree. In Oklahoma, there are 14 participating community colleges, including Rose State, that students can choose to attend while participating in Reach Higher. After going through the program, students will graduate with a completed Associate in Arts General Studies Degree with a focus on enterprise development.

In order to qualify for Reach Higher, you must have at least 18 credit hours from a previous institution, a minimum 2.0 GPA from previous college credit, and have completed any remedial coursework that may be required. After acceptance into the Reach Higher program, Rose State’s coordinator will work with you to develop a personalized degree completion program that works with your current schedule. As a student in the program, you’ll receive one-on-one advisement, flexible course enrollment periods year-round, and options to take classes either online or on-campus in Midwest City.

If you’re interested in participating in the program, you can apply anytime (for free) on the Rose State College website.

What If I Don’t Qualify for Reach Higher?

No worries! Even if you don’t qualify for the Reach Higher program, finishing your degree is extremely valuable for your future. Rose State makes it easy to earn your associate degree no matter where you are in your education journey. We know balancing life and work while going to school can be demanding, so we make it as easy as possible to take classes on a flexible schedule for one of our more than 60 degree programs. You can choose from daytime or evening classes, with some classes offering online options. If the traditional semester schedule doesn’t fit your needs, eight-week and 16-week classes available.

Call (405) 733-7372 to learn more about how we can help you finish your degree.

The Value of Finishing Your Degree

If you find yourself wondering, is the investment required to go back to school really worth it in the long run? We’re happy to report, the answer is YES! Completing your degree can present you with new opportunities in your current career. One study found that simply completing college courses can increase your earning potential, but that a completed associate degree results in even more of an income boost. U.S. adults with a postsecondary degree have also a leg up when it comes to receiving employer health insurance benefits and pension coverage.

The chart below makes it easy to see that “the more you learn, the more you earn.” In 2017, those who obtained an associate degree earned $62 more per week than those with an unfinished degree and $124 more than those with just a high school diploma. While those weekly earnings may not sound like much, they translate to $3,328 and $6,448 in increased annual earnings, respectively!


And should you continue your education after completing your associate degree, College Board found those with a bachelor’s degree increased their annual after-tax earnings by $15,400 compared to those with an associate degree. As you continue in your education, your earning potential and opportunities will grow with you.

Setting Yourself Up for Success in the Future

Completing an unfinished degree, whether through the Reach Higher program or on your own, is an investment in your future. Here are just a few ways that finishing your associate degree will set you up for success after graduation.

Lock in Your Course Credit. An unfinished degree will begin to depreciate over time. The longer you wait to finish your degree, the less likely your course credits will be relevant or applicable toward a future degree plan. By finishing your associate degree, you’re solidifying the value of the courses you’ve taken and making it easier to apply them toward a future bachelor’s degree should you choose to do so. Many four-year universities will recognize those entering with an associate degree as a college junior, meaning you’re halfway on your way to earning a second degree and increasing your earning potential. Of course, you should always check with universities to learn about their transfer policies and see if your degree is transferable.

Save Money on Future Degrees. Should you choose to transfer to a four-year university and pursue a bachelor’s degree, the course credit you received while earning your associate degree can save you money. Tuition rates at four-year universities are much less affordable than what you’ll pay to take equivalent classes at a community college like Rose State. For example, for the 2018-2019 school year, 30 credit hours at Rose State cost approximately $4,058, compared to the $11,762 it would cost to take the same number of credit hours at the University of Oklahoma. When you consider that an associate degree is equivalent to approximately 60 credit hours, you could save more than $15,000 by transferring and applying your completed associate degree toward a bachelor’s degree.

Increase Your Hiring Potential. No matter the reason you were unable to finish your degree the first time around, by going back to finish and earn your associate degree, you’re proving to current and future employers that you can pursue furthering education while balancing other responsibilities. Today’s modern workforce is hectic, and honing these skills makes you an invaluable employee. Finishing your degree also demonstrates your commitment, work ethic, and willingness to do what it takes to forge a new path for yourself. Remember, you’re not only creating opportunities for yourself to excel but opening up opportunities for your family in the form of earning potential and career opportunities.

Let Rose State Help You Go Back to School

Regardless of your circumstances, we know you can succeed in college ... and we're here to help you do just that. For more information on the Reach Higher Program at Rose State, contact Terence Grayson at (405) 736-0350 or If you’re ready to get started, you can apply anytime on the Rose State College website.


Interested in learning more about other options for finishing your degree at Rose State? Give us a call at (405) 733-7372 or visit