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BOLD (Be Ohio's Latest Degree Holder) Compact

About THE bold compact

Education and training beyond high school matter today more than ever to prepare students to contribute to their communities, allow them to lead healthier and more productive lives, and strengthen the economy (Collecting against the future (policymattersohio.org). In today’s economy, higher education is increasingly important for those seeking jobs that pay a living wage. The Ohio Department of Higher Education set a goal that by 2025, 65% of Ohioans aged 25 to 64 will have a degree, certificate, or other postsecondary workforce credential of value. In 2017, 44.6% of Ohioans had attained this level of education (A Stronger Nation,” by the Lumina Foundation). According to Ithaka S+R, across all age groups, Ohio is on track to reach only 51% attainment by 2025. In fact, Ohio will not meet 65% attainment until 2038. In addition, Ohio leaders have established a second goal to increase the proportion of adults over age 25 enrolled in public higher education to at least 40% by 2025 (“Finish Your Future: Ohio’s Adult Learner Initiative). As of September 2020, only 27% of students enrolled in public institutions in Ohio were over age 25.

It is estimated that there are currently 1.5M Ohioans with some college and no degree. If half of these students earned a postsecondary credential, the state of Ohio would reach 65% attainment. To reach these students, the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) has developed two programs- the Ohio Second Chance Grant and College Comeback- to encourage students to return to college. These Ohioans decided to stop out of college for a multitude of reasons. As job demands increase across the State, attracting these Ohioans back to school to achieve a certification or degree is becoming increasingly important. There are several Ohio Colleges and Universities who are working to re-engage their stopped-out students and to determine the most effective and efficient way to attract these students back to college.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Higher Education has developed two programs (Ohio Second Chance Grant and College Comeback) to encourage students to return to college. Based on the work of many Colleges and Universities across the country to attract stopped out students back into the classroom, many best practices are documented.Building on the foundation of ODHE’s College Comeback guidance, the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE) is managing a pilot study to attract stopped out students back into the classroom. Utilizing best practice, the SOCHE Colleges and Universities have formed a Compact to bring students back to school and will utilize the following requirements/processes. Through this Compact, the SOCHE Colleges and Universities are committed to work together to encourage stopped out students to re-enroll.

Did you know?

Approximately 1.5 million Ohioans have some college, but no degree (or credential)


It's as easy as 1...2...3...

Step 1: Check your eligibility:
  • Have not attained a degree
  • Have enrolled in one of the Compact’s participating institutions
  • Out of college for at least three semesters
  • Not currently enrolled in a College/University
  • Owe a debt to the previously attended institution of less than $5,000
  • No pending bankruptcy case
  • Not on legal hold from the College/University (e.g. criminal proceedings/litigation)
  • GPA greater than 2.0 in their final term at the previously attended institution
  • Not previously received maximum debt cancellation through the BOLD Compact

Step 2: Fill out a FAFSA Form and get some hints on paying for college:

Most students pay for their education through a combination of savings, scholarships, grants, and loans.


Step 3:  Tell us about your educational goals

Fill out our Student information and authorization form, so we can learn a little about you degree desires.  After you fill out this form, your requested Colleges or Universities will reach out to you personally.

  • Link to Google Form

Step 4:  Research your educational options (below) and reach out to an advisor at our Compact Colleges and Universities.  

  • Links to College/Universities (Edison, Shawnee, UD, Wittenberg, Wright State, Clark) Academic Listing pages and email link to an advisor

Step 5: Enroll in your desired program with the assistance of a College or University Academic Advisor and get started on achieving your dream!  


participating colleges and universities

Councils & Committees

SOCHE is dedicated to advancing higher education through active collaboration, resource and knowledge building, and effective professional development programs. To accomplish this, SOCHE administers 16 active Councils and Committees. The purpose of a SOCHE Council or Committee is to provide an opportunity for representatives from higher education to be a resource for one another, share information and best practices, identify common challenges, and, ultimately, broaden awareness of the resources, services, and activities in higher education. SOCHE is also dependent upon the Councils and Committees for substantial input on annual professional development programs.