Providence-based College Unbound gets OK for federal student aid

DENNIS LITTKY, co-founder and president of College Unbound, says the U.S. Department of Education has given the school permission to accept requests for federal financial aid from its students. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
DENNIS LITTKY, co-founder and president of College Unbound, says the U.S. Department of Education has given the school permission to accept requests for federal financial aid from its students. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

PROVIDENCE – The president of College Unbound has announced that the U.S. Department of Education recently cleared the way for the nontraditional, degree-granting school to accept student requests for federal financial aid.

College Unbound said the approval means students can apply for Pell grants, students loans and work-study arrangements through the school. School president Dennis Littky characterized the decision as a crucial milestone, signaling College Unbound’s strength and independence as a school of higher education.

“College Unbound is all about helping adult learners return to college and complete their degrees,” Littky said. “There are some 110,000 adults in Rhode Island who started college but never completed it. This funding approval will make it easier for these adults – many of whom are minorities and low-income individuals – to finish college and increase their opportunities for personal and career success.”

Members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation applauded the announcement and praised College Unbound in a news release from the school.

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College Unbound was founded in 2009 and offers education programming to nontraditional students who began their studies elsewhere and, for one reason or another, were interrupted. It enrolls about 200 students.

The school is pursuing regional accreditation with the New England Association of School and Colleges.

According to its notification letter, the Department of Education said College Unbound met the definition of an eligible institution and “will be listed in the next edition of the Directory of Postsecondary Institutions.”

“When we started this process nearly 10 years ago, it was always our hope and plan to establish a college that would address the needs of older students returning to school and overcoming past financial and other life challenges,” said Adam Bush, College Unbound co-founder and provost. “This federal financial aid will make that possible for many.”

William Hamilton is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Hamilton@PBN.com.