Diploma dilemmas: 300 GRCC students do not claim associates degrees

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Around 300 students have done all of the work for an associate's degree, but they haven't claimed their diplomas.

As part of the nationwide 'Degrees When Due' initiative, Grand Rapids Community College is reaching out to those students who unknowingly have completed the necessary credits to graduate.

"I think it's important to make sure that students who earn their degrees get their degrees," said Valerie Butterfield, registrar at the college. "I think it's important that we get them their credentials."

GRCC says many students may lose track of how many credits they have as part-time students. Others end up transferring to a larger four-year institution and may overlook the importance of applying for graduation to receive their associates. In order for students to actually receive their degree, they must apply to graduate.

When students do learn they can graduate, many are excited to learn the news.

"They're like, 'Great. Thanks for letting me know. I'm happy to have this,'" said Butterfield.

Once the college is done reaching out to the students who are able to graduate, they will reach out to others who are just shy of graduating. Around 2,000 students only need to complete one or two more credit classes for their diploma.

Michigan is currently one of eight states participating in the 'Degrees when Due' initiative.

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