Yolanda Hubbard first enrolled at the University of New Mexico in 1983, taking introductory English and math part time while working at a hamburger chain. Two years later, she hadn't struck a balance between shifts and classes, and she dropped out of college.
Over the next three decades, she returned several times, but she always ended up leaving before earning enough credits to graduate.
Along the way she married and divorced. She held various jobs, one as a secretary, another as a records manager for an aviation contractor. In 2009 she started taking classes at the University of Phoenix. "I thought it would be faster," she says.
By that time, she was working as a project manager at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. A co-worker told her about the university's Graduation Project, designed to help former students return to finish their bachelor's degrees. Ms. Hubbard, 50, sat down with several academic counselors for the project, who helped her plot the best route to take advantage of the credits she already had and also prepare herself for future employment: a bachelor's in university studies with an emphasis in human services.
So she dropped out of the University of Phoenix, with $10,000 in student loans, and once again enrolled at New Mexico.
Ms. Hubbard, who lives in Albuquerque, has some regrets. "I thought I would be farther along than I am right now," she says. "I have girlfriends whose kids are graduating from college, and I'm still working on a bachelor's degree. It's a little depressing."
Nevertheless, she says, she is determined. She plans to graduate next year.
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Yolanda Hubbard: Sometimes a Bachelor's Takes 30 Years
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Terrence Rencher: Ex-NBA Player Went Back for His Degree
Rob J. Rock: 25 Years After High School, Degrees in Sight
Shannon Williams: Career Uncertainty Ends on Ph.D. Track
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