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Noble Launches Local 4-Year College Degree Program fo Alumni


CHICAGO, IL – Today, the Noble Network of Charter Schools announced the launch of the “Noble Forward” college program, which offers an additional path to a four-year undergraduate degree for participating graduates from any of Noble’s 17 charter public high schools. Created in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the program offers individualized coaching and mentorship in addition to providing significant financial aid for most students. Noble Forward is designed to fit into the schedule of working adults, and its first cohort comprises students eager to resume their journey to a four-year degree. The launch of Noble Forward marks a new and exciting stage in Noble’s efforts to secure better educational and career outcomes for its student population, 98% of whom are students of color and primarily residing in traditionally underserved communities in Chicago. Noble believes that the opportunity for a college education should be available to any student, regardless of background. This new program joins Noble’s longstanding college counseling and support structure that currently enables 90% of its graduates to matriculate to higher education programs each year. Still, the path to a four-year degree often takes unexpected turns for first-generation college students, and Noble Forward will provide a supplemental option for graduates. “I came to Noble in 2002 with the dream of going to college and graduating from one. Unfortunately, life does happen and for some of us life doesn’t go as planned,” said Esperanza Bernabe, Noble Street College Prep class of 2006. “Now with this college program, I am back on the road and striving for success. I know it is not going to be an easy journey, but with the support that the Noble Forward team has provided I feel confident that this is going to get done. I am excited to be part of Noble Forward and I am grateful for this opportunity.” The path to a degree in Noble Forward focuses on content mastery, not a set timeline, which enables significant flexibility for modern adult lives. Each enrolled student is paired with an in-person coach who supports and mentors the student throughout his or her undergraduate experience. Classes are conducted primarily online, and tuition and fees are $2,000 per trimester. For many students, tuition will be covered by federal financial aid. “This is just one way that we at Noble are improving how we support our graduates through college completion, because we have the firm belief that college is the best preparation to launch our students toward exemplary and fulfilling adult lives,” explained Jenny Song, director of college projects. “But we’ve learned over the years that students are navigating different paths, and the traditional route doesn’t work for everyone.” The inaugural cohort of Noble Forward students commenced studies this month. Students choose from one of three bachelor’s degree programs through SNHU, focusing on communications, management, or healthcare management. Expected completion time for each bachelor degree is three to five years, though students will progress at an independent pace most suitable for their schedules. Classes are virtual through SNHU, with supplemental mentorship and guidance provided in-person by Noble Forward coaches at offices in Chicago.