ASU Teams with Sophie Program to Offer Students Way to Earn College Credits
By Hazel Scott/ASU
Alabama State University has partnered with Sophie to help ASU students have a degree pathway by providing a flexible opportunity to earn college credits.
Sophia is an alternative credit provider. It is a subsidiary of Strategic Education, Inc. (NASDAQ: STRA), a leader in enabling economic mobility through education.
This partnership is a tool to help “stopout” students (students who withdraw from college temporarily and re-enroll later) or students who have depleted their financial aid the opportunity to take courses for free.
“The partnership came as an opportunity when COVID interrupted the day-to-day operations of the campus. Utilizing Sophia provides an opportunity to support students who need to complete general core and introduction level courses,” said Dr. Tanjula Petty, Assistant Provost for Student Success and Special Initiatives. “Initially the agreement was for six months (180 days) to provide Alabama State University students the opportunity to utilize the Sophia Learning Platform to complete specific courses; however, we have received an extension until June 2021.”
The online Sophia Platform allows students to work on self-paced modules to complete courses within 60 days. The courses are aligned with ASU courses, and the students will receive credit if they successfully complete the modules and the assessments attached to the Sophia Platform.
Petty said students must complete an approval process to be included in the program.
“Students must be currently enrolled to be afforded this opportunity and must go through a process to be approved to participate in the program,” said Petty.
So far, 14 students have completed the courses and approximately 25 additional students are currently taking courses under Sophie.
Here are the stories of three students who have completed the Sophie Program. They all reaffirm that they are thankful to ASU for offering this platform.
James Giles began his academic career with ASU in Spring 2015, pursuing a degree in Communications with a concentration in Radio/Television.
Giles had reached his financial aid eligibility limits and was worried about how he would earn the credits to graduate. He was able to complete the Sophie Program to finish his studies. Giles has since landed a position as a reporter with WTVM News Leader 9 television station in Atlanta.
“I was six hours short of being eligible to graduate. One of my advisers referred me to the Sophie Program. I went through the necessary channels to get connected to Ms. Rogers, (ASU) retention specialist. She said taking the Sophie classes would help me meet my requirements to graduate. She gave me all the information and sent me a link. I immediately enrolled. It was completely free,” Giles said.
The Columbus, Georgia, native took two courses with Sophie — Art History and Intro to Ethics.
“I knocked the classes out in about two weeks. They give you 60 days to complete the online courses, but I finished early,” Giles explained. “Taking these courses helped me meet my requirements to graduate in Fall 2020. Sophie helped me a lot. I probably wouldn’t have graduated, and I wouldn’t have my job today if I didn’t take the Sophie courses. I’m thankful for the program and to ASU.”
In Fall 2014, Felicia Calhoun began her academic career at ASU, pursuing a degree with the College of Health Sciences.
Calhoun had maxed out her financial aid but was able to take the next step in her educational goals by taking advantage of the Sophie Program.
“I received an email from ASU’s Retention Office about the Sophie Program. I went through the application process and was accepted,” she said.
Calhoun took and completed the Public Speaking course with Sophie.
“The self-paced course was a flexible opportunity to earn college credit that I needed. It gave me the opportunity to graduate. It was convenient because I could do it on my time,” Calhoun expressed.
She expects to be a candidate for graduation in May and walk across the stage in Spring 2021. Calhoun will join the Montgomery County Sheriff Department after graduation.
Delvin Davis expects to graduate in Fall 2021. His road to graduating began in Fall 2004 as a Political Science major with a minor in English Writing.
When Davis reached his eligibility limits with financial aid, his educational journey was placed on hold.
“My vision always was to return to ASU and if there ever came a chance to go back, I would definitely try,” Davis emphasized.
That day came when he was surfing on Facebook about ways to get back to ASU.
“A Sophie flyer popped up. It was a sign from God. I was excited…. I could take classes through their program and receive credits that would go toward me graduating,” he said.
The Atlanta native said after seeing the flyer, he contacted Ms. Rogers in ASU’s Retention Office. “I went through the application process for Sophie and was accepted. I took a history class and passed it in 30 days. I was also accepted back to ASU and was eligible for financial aid. So, it was a Facebook post that started my journey back to ASU.”
For more information about the Sophie program, call 1-800-341-0327 or visit www.sophia.org,