New Grant Allows LTCC to Reach Adult Learners Who Have Credits But No Credential

September 28, 2021

LTCC recently secured a $65,750 grant that allows for another vital piece to be added to the college’s overall efforts to reconnect with adult learners who have some earned college credits, but no credential or degree.

This grant will further fund a new program called Reconnect to Complete, which helps LTCC to ensure that adult learners in the South Shore community are provided with clear pathways to social mobility and economic stability through education.

LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco said, “This program helps us re-engage with adult learners, revealing a clear picture of their goals, skills, and abilities. Many stopped-out students are closer to earning a degree or credential than they might think, and LTCC’s high level of support and array of financial aid options can make college re-entry a real possibility, and it may even be free.”

This recent grant making the Reconnect to Complete program possible started last year with LTCC selected to participate in the California Community College Trustee Fellowship Intersession Project. This gives community college boards the financing needed to complete a particular reform leading to improved student outcomes. LTCC’s Board of Trustees decided to establish a goal around improving certificate and degree completion among adult learners who have some college classes and credits, but no degree. 

Approximately 4 million adults aged 25 to 64 in California, or just over 10% of the state’s population, have taken some college courses but have not earned a college degree. In South Lake Tahoe, approximately 30% of the adult population has some college credits, but no degree. This population often earns lower wages, and is sometimes burdened with student loan debt and no college degree to show for it.

With the Reconnect to Complete project, LTCC can more easily identify and reconnect with adult community members and former students who have earned college credits but who have no certificate or degree. The project links together existing efforts to serve this particular community, including programs such as Credit for Prior Learning (awarding college credits for skills and knowledge learned in the workplace), Degrees When Due (encourages timely degree completion), and Guided Pathways (encourages sticking to an educational pathway for timely degree completion).

LTCC has a part-time employee who reaches out to and connects with adult learners who have at least 75 units earned, letting them know how many units they have and what’s needed to get them across the finish line for a degree or certificate, or both. This effort resulted in 28 “stopped-out” students returning to LTCC in the past year.

With the new grant, LTCC will be able to expand this to a full-time position at least through summer 2022, and will add student retention ambassadors who provide above-and-beyond support just for adult learners and their particular needs.

“We’ll make Reconnect to Complete similar to our Lake Tahoe College Promise program, with dedicated staff all working together to support a particular student population,” said DeFranco. “Like with Promise, it will give these adult students the specialized attention they deserve and the targeted focus they need from us to meet their goals.”

To learn more about Reconnect to Complete and to talk about your return to college at LTCC, how many credits you have, what aid is available and what your work experience may earn you credit-wise, please contact Antonio Benitez in LTCC’s President’s Office at Google Voice phone number (530) 208-9609, or at

Students who were enrolled with LTCC during the pandemic who stopped out for any reason can also benefit from LTCC automatically forgiving up to $1,000 of college debt (tuition and fees), making it possible for them to return to their studies without paying off debt to do so. More than 700 LTCC students owed a combined $300,000 for fees charged between Spring 2020 and Spring 2021. Historically, these students would be prohibited from re-enrolling. Now these former students can trust that debt of up to $1,000 has already been removed from their LTCC accounts, freeing them up to register and return to their education.