Chicago State University

Chicago State University discovers new ways to expand access and support to adult learners
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Founded in 1867, Chicago State University is a four-year public institution located in Chicago, Illinois dedicated to innovation, reimagining technology, and utilizing forward thinking instruction and research.

Chicago State University serves a wide range of students, including first-generation students who make up 61% of the student population. As part of its mission to embrace, engage, educate, and empower their students and community to transform lives locally and globally, the team at Chicago State identified an opportunity to reach students who had previously attended Chicago State but had not yet completed their degree. 

They began by advertising a debt relief program that helped them re-enroll 20-30 students, but they knew that they could bring even more students back. Through a partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Chicago State turned to ReUp Education to help.

Partnership Overview

Partnership launched

0 weeks
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Students enrolled so far


Recaptured tuition within 10 weeks

$ 250000
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Collaborating for success

ReUp met with the team at Chicago State to listen to their pain points and challenges and put a plan in place for bringing students back. “ReUp had a dedication to understanding us and understanding each of our student segments and populations. They asked all the right questions,” says Bill Sliwa, Interim VP of Enrollment Management at Chicago State University.

Out of these conversations and drawing from the experience of working with tens of thousands of adult learners, ReUp served as a consultative partner, providing Chicago State specific recommendations that included:

Developing a learner-facing landing page with relevant information, so prospective adult learners looking to reenroll know where to go and the steps they need to take in the process.

Changing a policy that initially required learners to go to another school before returning to Chicago State University. Now, learners are accepted back on a probationary period, making it easier for them to return.

Taking a learner-centered approach and re-evaluating messaging, policies, and to remove barriers and acknowledge the unique needs and challenges facing adult learners.

Meaningful impact,
meaningful results

For many institutions, successfully  finding, enrolling, and supporting adult learners at scale is a challenge. ReUp brings the patented technology, personalized  support, and data insights to deliver an individualized experience for adult learners that supports their success and accelerates an institution’s enrollment goals. 

Within 10 weeks of the launch of the partnership, Chicago State saw111 students return, recapturing $314,000 in tuition. The results were an economic and morale booster for Chicago State.

Impact beyond enrollment

Partnering with ReUp led not only to enrollment results but firsthand insights into what their adult learners were thinking. Bill adds: “The insights gained through [Success Coach] Thurston S. and know what the learners were thinking, where they were in their life journey, what challenges they were facing, and how we could meet them were they are have been incredible.” 

The impact of ReUp has had ripple effects across Chicago State, from enrollment services to marketing to academic affairs. The insights and recommendations that have come out of the partnership have sparked conversations about how every aspect of the student experience can be seen through the lens of an adult learner’s experience.

If I was to tell other enrollment leaders what to expect, I will tell them that it’s a no-risk, high-reward program. ReUp is a great extension of their recruitment and enrollment efforts that they may not have either thought about or have the bandwidth to handle on their own.”

— Bill Sliwa

Interim VP of Enrollment Management at Chicago State University

What do library services look like for an adult learner who hasn't been in a college library in decades?

Do the hours that an office is open accommodate a flexible schedule for an adult learner who may be working from 9-5?

What sections of courses could we offer that would appeal to adult learners?

ReUp had a dedication to understanding us and understanding each of our student segments and populations. They asked all the right questions.

— Bill Sliwa

Interim VP of Enrollment Management at Chicago State University

Let’s start the conversation

Schedule a strategy session to learn more about partnering with ReUp.