Butler University Creates a 2-Year Degree to Help Underserved Youth

Giving the gift of education in partnership with The Come to Believe experience.

Two college graduates.

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A good education gives people a head-start in life and the ability to pursue a good career. But many deserving students  are unable to pursue a higher education. Now Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana is creating a two-year program to help historically underserved students go to college.

The historically black university is developing a new two-year college to enable students who normally wouldn’t be able to continue their education, according to WNDU. The students who enroll in the college, beginning in the fall 2025 semester, can obtain an Associate Degree with little or no out-of-pocket costs or debt from loans. Graduates will have the opportunity to go on for a Bachelor’s Degree at a great reduced rate.

Come to Believe Network
To offer the debt free program, Butler is joining two other colleges —  Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois and the University of  St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota – in the Come to Believe Network. The organization’s mission, according to its website, is to provide higher education institutions with an innovative model that is accessible to students who usually cannot receive a higher education.

Steve Katsouros, president and CEO of the Come To Believe Network  told WNDU that: “80 percent of our students go on to four-year institutions, and close to 80 percent of them complete their bachelor’s degree within four-or five-years’ time — including the two-year associate degree. And again, 90 percent of our students complete [with] no debt, so they’re liberated from that. That’s really the whole point of this program.”

Fulfilling a mission
Butler’s announcement comes four months after the decision to end affirmative action by the US Supreme Court, reported CNN. This would leave many students unable to attend a college or university. But the new program will help students of color, students from low-income families, and first-generation college students receive an education.

This is what the mission of Butler is all about. “We were founded in 1855 by an abolitionist who firmly believed that education had to be available for people beyond just what was predominant at the time, obviously, White males,” university president James Danko told CNN.

“We were not living out our founder’s dream … that set-in motion a lot of conversation and discussion about how you would deliver a degree? What would the type of student look like?”

This new two-year program, which will be funded through endowments and donations is exactly what they were searching for.

Success stories
The programs already running at Loyola University and the University of St. Thomas are already success stories.

Here’s one student’s story. Carlos Martinez, who graduated from the Arrupe College at Loyola and a special projects manager at the Come to Believe Network said that the experience didn’t just provide for a debt-free education, it also gave him a sense of community.

“Yes, they did offer great financial support. I did not have to take out loans at all for my undergrad. But what made it was the environment, the people there, the community, how caring everyone is,” Martinez said.

He went on to graduate from Loyola with a BA in 2021 and is currently a graduate student at George Washington University in Washington DC.

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