ACE Program increases opportunities for alumni

ACE Program increases opportunities for alumni

by Peter KaspariStaff Writer

The recent economic recession has led Simpson College to create a new program to help support alumni.

The Alumni Career Enhancement (ACE) Grant was designed for Simpson alumni who have faced hardships during the economic downturn.

“It is for (alumni) who have either been laid off or cannot find employment or are looking for classes to enhance the degree they already have,” Jennifer Hart, campus director and academic adviser for the evening, weekend and graduate program, said.

ACE was created this past summer, and the first group of alumni began taking classes in the fall. Alumni were informed of ACE via various means, including a mass e-mail from the Alumni Office, an article in the Simpson Magazine, as well as through word of mouth and a notice being put on the Web site.

The program is open to all alumni from Simpson.

“We have quite the range,” Hart said. “We have the most recently graduated, and I believe the farthest back I have right now is 25 years.”

So far, there are 16 people enrolled in ACE.”They’re all doing various things,” Hart said. “Some are coming back for a second degree, some are coming to complete endorsement courses for education, some are doing certificate programs and one is taking courses for his C.P.A. exam.”

Hart said those enrolled in the program have a wide variety of options available to them.

“They can take day classes or evening classes,” Hart said. “If they’re coming back for another degree, they have to complete the requirements, which are 29 credits beyond what was already achieved at the time of graduation.” Hart said that all who enroll in the program are classified as Simpson students.

“They’ve been re-admitted, and they receive all the perks and privileges of being a Simpson student,” Hart said.

The office of financial assistance determines the reward that students will receive.

“(Students) have to submit proof of unemployment or termination, and all that gets sent over to financial aid,” Hart said.

“Income level determines what they’re eligible for.”

As of now, ACE is set to end during the summer of 2010. Depending on the success, it may or may not be renewed for next year.

“My understanding is that it has to be approved by the Executive Cabinet to be extended,” Hart said.

The ACE Grant is a part of Simpson’s Evening, Weekend and Graduate program.

“During the year, we have more than 800 unique students who are part of the EWG program,” Rosemary Link, associate vice president of academic affairs, said. “The primary responsibility is for weekend and adult programs. We also have a number of students working with well known organizations.”

Hart said that it’s not too late for alumni to sign up for classes with the ACE Grant.

“(Alumni) can still take advantage of the grant through Summer 2010,” Hart said. The Grant would cover courses taking place during the spring semester and the summer.