Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 6, 2013

Ivy Tech program gets adults to think about continuing education

Ivy Tech program gets adults to think about continuing education

Goshen News

---- — ELKHART — The Ivy Tech Community College Potentials Unlimited Learning Lab (PULL) has been in Elkhart for 12 years.

“It’s kind of a well kept secret. Elkhart is the only location for the PULL program,” said PULL Director Judie Jones. “Our goal is to interest or re-interest Elkhart County residents into higher education.”

The location and hours for classes at 1318 S. Sixth Street provides students easy access for riding bikes, walking or taking the trolley, Jones said.

PULL students — ages 18 to 60 and older — explore career possibilities, learn keyboarding skills and take Ivy Tech’s refresher courses in math, reading and writing.

“Some of the students come here because of the smaller site or they feel like they’ve been out of school to long,” Jones said. “We have smaller class sizes and others need financial assistance and come here. We have a lot of hands-on at this site.”

Their first steps in the process begins by scheduling an appointment at Ivy Tech-PULL to fill out a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA) online and an application for admission.

“We have a tuition assistance program and book loaner program for students. They borrow books from the program’s loaner library,” Jones said.

PULL covers tuition costs for students registered for zero-level courses, those who don’t qualify for federal funds at time of registration and those who meet program guidelines.

And completion of the PULL program varies with each individual and tutoring help is available four days a week, depending on the enrollment during a semester.

There’s an open door policy for students, she added.

Staff is available to talk to about any issues that may pose as hindrances to their education success. They can receive advice on methods that may assist with issues such as class attendance despite seemingly unmanageable circumstances, student and instructor relationship building or any number of issues for which staff can advise them.

“We help to make a smooth transition to one of our campuses to complete their degrees. They are well prepared after starting here. We try to get them to know how to be a good and prepared student,” Jones said. “There has been more than 1,000 non-traditional students to come through the PULL program, with 328 transitioning to other campuses and 48 have graduated with degrees or certificates.”

The average PULL student is a 20 to 24 African-American female followed by the Caucasian female of the same age. The males show similar statistics.

There were several investors that made contributions towards the current Ivy Tech-PULL campus location and included City of Elkhart, Elkhart Black Expo, Housing Authority City of Elkhart, Indiana General Assembly, Ivy Tech, Northern Indiana Workforce Investment Board, Sister Virginia’s Basic Adult Education Center, South Central Ullery Development Association and Workforce Development Sources.