From straight and smooth to circuitous and rocky, the path to a college degree is not a one- size-fits-all endeavor—each is as distinct and unique as the student making the trek.

The most common path for a student arriving at Chico State is directly from high school or transferring from a community college—rare is the student with years between high school or stints on a college campus. Yet, each semester, dozens of students enroll with such a story.

Irene Echavarria

Irene Echavarria

Sociology Major Committed to Breaking Negative Family Cycles

Brandon Wright

Brandon Wright

Accounting Major Counts on Finishing What He Started

Chantel Bebee

Chantel Bebee

Son’s Struggle Drives Mother to Study Communication Science

Anthony McKinney

Anthony McKinney

Engineering Strikes Creative Chord for Musician

For their own reasons, these reentry scholars hit the pause button somewhere in their educational journey—whether due to raising a family, battling a life-threatening addiction, or even doing jail time. But their dreams to earn their degree never extinguish.

Jeff Layne, program director at Regional & Continuing Education (RCE), said reentry students are an extraordinary student population, recommitting to their education after facing some of life’s many challenges and obligations.

“It would be easy for them to drop out again because they have so much going on in their lives,” he said. “It’s the University’s job to support these student- scholars as much as we can to see that they’re successful.”

Since 2007, Chico State has provided some of that support by awarding more than $1 million in scholarships to 190 reentry students, totaling $5,000–6,000 per student, thanks to the generosity of the Bernard Osher Foundation, Duff family, and Crankstart Foundation.

Osher Foundation President Mary G.F. Bitterman said she believes that every penny invested in reentry students is a worthy one.

“We hope that our scholarships not only provide financial assistance but serve to enhance the self- esteem of their worthy recipients,” she said. “With families to support, children to raise, rent and mortgages to pay, and often working while trying to complete the required coursework for a bachelor’s degree, reentry students are clearly the bravest of the brave.”

The four reentry students and scholarship recipients you’ll meet in this series are among the many who persist in their pursuit of a degree. Whether life choices or circumstances forced their detours, they share a common identity: they are resourceful, committed, and capable of incredible achievement.

Empower Returning Student-Scholars

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