Carol Price is sure that if she can find time to have a life and get her bachelor's degree, you can too.
But it may take a different kind of college experience, like the one she's found in her own community offered by Tennessee Tech University.
"There's no way I would have time to drive to Cookeville, but with the classes right here, I'll earn my degree," said Price, a Crossville wife, mother, and full-time Social Services Coordinator for Cumberland Good Samaritans.
What Price found was a program starting this fall at the Cumberland County Higher Education Center and at Roane State Community College's Oak Ridge Branch Campus. She has an associate's degree, but through the new program, she can take third and fourth year courses in the evenings to earn a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
"Partnering with other schools, Tennessee Tech is meeting the needs of working professionals and others who have an associate's degree and want to complete a bachelor's degree in a traditional classroom setting," said Debbie Thurman, TTU's Eastern Region area coordinator.
That's exactly what Price was looking for. Having taken some online courses, which she admits she liked, she still prefers to have the social interaction with classmates and one-on-one time in person with a professor.
"I took online classes because there wasn't a program here to allow me to finish a degree," said Price. "I was so excited to learn that I could drive across town and meet in a classroom."
In case anyone doubts his or her ability to work classes into a busy schedule, Price proves it can be done. At Good Samaritan, she helps community members find ways to meet their basic needs and aspire to finding jobs or scholarships. She helps her husband drive the church van, follows her teenage daughter's band and piano performances, and answers the phone on nights and weekends for her husband, who owns a heating and air conditioning business.
"We're committed to providing access and flexibility to area students who want to earn a four-year degree," said TTU President Bob Bell.
The Interdisciplinary Studies degree is a recently approved four-year degree through TTU that provides students with a broad-based curriculum. Thurman says the classroom experience will mirror classes held on the Cookeville campus, and fees are the same.
"Several hundred students already take advantage of other undergraduate and graduate programs we offer to the region," said Thurman. "We hope this new opportunity will help people reach their education goals."
Price says as determined as she is to finish, her husband, Dan, and daughter, Mandy, have even taken to cooking and cleaning more to make sure she has time to study.
"They say 'Don't Quit!'" said Price, who's glad she won't have to travel far away from her family for class time.
Thurman will be available to answer questions about the new program at an information fair on Thursday, July 11, 5-7 p.m., at Roane State's Oak Ridge Branch Campus. The next information fair will be at the Higher Education Center in Crossville on July 16, 5-7 p.m. For more information, call Thurman at 931-484-7413 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.