SOAR: Support, Opportunities, Advocacy and Resources for Nontraditional Students

SOAR provides a wide range of Support, Opportunities, Advocacy, and Resources for adult learners with financial need pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. Whether returning to school change careers, advance in your current career, improve economic prospects, finish what you started long ago, or be one of the first in your family to earn a Michigan degree, SOAR can help you achieve your goals.

Qualifying students receive a scholarship during their first three semesters at UM-Dearborn and can attend part-time or full-time. Students also benefit from academic and personal support that continues beyond the first year until they graduate from the university.

My SOAR Story
The SOAR Program has changed my life tremendously.
SOAR student Jenine Connors

SOAR Program Details

Am I eligible?
You may be eligible for the SOAR scholarship and join SOAR if you...
  • Are over age 25 or a parent or veteran
  • Are enrolling in your first semester at UM-Dearborn
  • Have at least 24 transferable credits and a minimum 2.5 recalculated GPA
  • Are Pell Grant eligible with no loans in default
  • Are pursuing your first bachelor’s degree
How do I become a UM-Dearborn SOAR student?
  • Complete the Request for Information Form
  • Upon receipt of your request, SOAR staff will reach out to you.                               
  • Complete the UM-Dearborn Application for Admission Form
  • Complete the FAFSA Form                                                                   
  • Meet (virtually or in-person) with SOAR staff for next steps
What support and resources does SOAR provide?
How will joining SOAR enrich my university experience?
SOAR Learning Outcomes
  • Learn to successfully navigate university systems
  • Identify and utilize university  and community resources to enhance the academic experience
  • Improve reading, writing, note-taking, and exam preparation strategies
  • Become adept at using technology to access and communicate information
  • Enhance communication skills to foster productive relationships with faculty and peers
  • Acquire relevant leadership skills
  • Seek out peer, faculty, staff, and community mentors to build a community of support
  • Set realistic goals for academic progression toward degree completion
  • Develop a post-graduation career and/or additional education plan
More about SOAR

The SOAR program provides a pathway for returning adult learners to attend UM-Dearborn and earn their degree who might not be able to do so without the resources the program offers. Students in SOAR are generally referred to the university by community colleges, local human service agencies, and community organizations.

Mission Statement

The University of Michigan-Dearborn SOAR Program increases access to post-secondary education for nontraditional adult learners experiencing socioeconomic challenges, facilitates admission to the university using a holistic model, and retains admitted students by providing a wide range of support, opportunities, advocacy and resources.

In partnership with local human service organizations and community colleges, SOAR is a tangible representation of the University’s Metropolitan Vision to provide access to higher education, advance economic prosperity, and grow the number of college educated individuals in southeastern Michigan. 

Advisory Board

Lila Amen
District Community Liaison
Dearborn Public Schools

Hoda Amine, Ph.D., LMSW, CSW
Director of Dearborn Counseling Services

Lisa Andrews, M.A.
CASL Advising
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Francine Banner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sociology
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Kerri Barnett-Novak
Student Services Administrator
Wayne County Community College District

Suzanne Bergeron, Ph.D. 
Helen M. Graves Collegiate Professor of Women's Studies and Social Sciences
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Susan Cushnier, M.A.
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Keith Dye, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, African and African American Studies, History
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Ivy Forsythe-Brown, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sociology
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Susan Gedert, B.A.
CASL Marketing and Digital Content Specialist
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Roma Heaney, M.A. (Chair)
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Martin J. Hershock, Ph.D. (ex-officio)
Dean, College of Arts Sciences & Letters
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Ellen Judge-Gonzalez, M.A. (ex-officio)
Director, SOAR Program
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Lisa Martin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Women’s & Gender Studies, Health Policy Studies
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Pam McAuslan, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Judith Monroe, M.A.

Gerald Moran, Ph.D.
Professor, History
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Saleemah Morris
SOAR Student Representative
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Cheryl Powell, B.S.
Associate Director – Financial Aid
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Rebecca Richardson, B.A.
Program Assistant – SOAR Program
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Britta Roan, M.S.
Senior Career Counselor
Career Services
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Trisha Schlaff
Special Events Manager
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Ofelia Torres
SOAR Student Representative
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Esther Lee Wyatt, M.A. 
Wayne County Community College

Contact Information

1038 CASL Building
313-593-3960   Fax: 313-593-5552

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