SOAR Program

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 Program Staff

Ellen Judge-Gonzalez

Director, Student Outreach and Academic Resources Program (SOAR)

From the Dearborn Reporter: How SOAR supports students transitioning back to college

Eric Welch

Inspired by his daughter’s college graduation, Eric Welch returned to school after a nearly 30-year hiatus. The English major says support from UM-Dearborn’s professors and staff helped him start — and finish — this chapter in his life. 

Welch is graduating this Spring as summa cum laude. He’s met new friends, found a love of garden work and writing, and shown himself what is possible — all while working full time and trying out new things. “I’ve learned that it’s OK to be a little bit uncomfortable,” he says. “You usually come out on the other side with a new skill or perspective. It just means that you are growing.”

Nearing the end of his college journey, Welch says he still can’t believe the transformation he’s gone through while on campus. He attributes it to the people he’s met at UM-Dearborn.

Welch notes that SOAR program helped him transition back to college after nearly 30 years. Because of the SOAR program, he always had a computer to use, knew where to go for help and had a built-in community of other Dearborn Wolverines who were returning to school. Read Eric's story


SOAR graduates share their stories

SOAR Graduate Elissa Gonzalez
SOAR Graduate Husan Sharif
Soar Graduate Jagara Bell

SOAR Program

1038 - College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Building
4901 Evergreen Road
Dearborn, MI 48128
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Phone: 313-593-3960
Fax: 313-593-5552