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A University of Delaware Degree—For Free

Paying for college today can seem impossible. But thanks to the University of Delaware’s Associate in Arts Program (AAP) and SEED (Student Excellence Equals Degree) Scholarships funded by the State of Delaware, Delawareans can start their education and earn a degree for free

“The Associate in Arts Program offers an innovative and seamlessly integrated pathway into degree completion at the University of Delaware, whether the goal is a two-year associate degree or a full bachelor’s degree,” said UD President Dennis Assanis. “The program is deliberately designed for flexible opportunity.” ​

SEED covers the cost of tuition for eligible full-time students enrolled in the AAP at UD’s Wilmington, Dover, and Georgetown locations. AAP is an attractive option  for students seeking a more personal and flexible transition to higher education. 

Transition, Not Transfer

 A medical professional mentoring a University of Delaware student
Associate in Arts Program students take a lab class in Georgetown, Del. as part of a dual admissions partnership with Beebe Healthcare’s Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing. The program offers prospective nursing students the opportunity to simultaneously earn an Associate in Arts degree from UD and a diploma in professional nursing.

And the results speak for themselves: More than 60 percent of AAP students earn their associate degree within three years, far above national averages. Then, nearly all of them transition — they don’t transfer because they’re already UD students — to the main campus in Newark, where 78 percent earn their bachelor’s degrees. Over the past decade, more than 2,000 Delawareans have earned bachelor’s degrees after starting in AAP.

Many go even farther. ​

“The Associate in Arts Program was rigorous — the material was the same as in Newark and the expectations were high — but the classes were small, and there was a lot of individual attention,” said Cody Prang, who earned his bachelor’s degree in 2012 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology from New York University in 2019.

Now an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, Prang said the ability to focus on being in college without the distractions of a larger campus was key to his success. In high school, he doubted he would even attend college, but he discovered a passion for anthropology in the AAP. “I got so much help and support,” he said.

Flexibility is Key

Many AAP students are the first in their family to attend college and say they appreciate the program’s affordability and the opportunity to stay close to home, often continuing part-time jobs and family responsibilities.

“I am so incredibly grateful for the Associate in Arts Program and the progress it has helped me make toward achieving my goals without incurring debt,” said Brayden Moore, a student from Lincoln, Del. “The quality of the AAP faculty ensures that students like me receive an authentic UD experience despite the distance from the main campus. I have had incredible professors over the past two years.”

university of delaware students, beekeeping
Associate in Arts Program students in the Principles of Biology class get out of the classroom for some experiential learning. In additional to their in-class actives, students got hands-on (or gloves on, as it were) experience with bees and beekeeping tending to a hive hosted at the Wilmington WYCA where the also helped out with a community garden.

Expanding AAP’s Opportunities

“The AAP exemplifies our institutional commitment to Expanding Student Success,” Assanis said. “The program has been a true success, and we’re proud of our AAP students and alumni. Now we are building on what has worked so well in this program — plus what we’ve learned about remote education during the pandemic — and use it to reach out to more students who otherwise wouldn’t or couldn’t pursue a four-year degree.”​

Cody Prang, a UD student
Cody Prang, at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania

UD is reimagining the AAP to provide even more extensive and personalized academic and career advising services and expanding opportunities for faculty research, internships and community engagement projects. UD is also broadening curricular offerings to include more programs in health, business and other fields; the AAP already features tracks leading to degrees in liberal arts, nursing and elementary teacher education. Expanding the AAP helps UD meet students’ growing educational needs, whether they pursue a traditional or non-traditional path to their degree.

AAP students can study abroad, use the main library, join student clubs, attend athletic events and partake in many other traditional college experiences.​

For Zoe Read, taking her classes in Wilmington didn’t keep her from being deeply involved in UD’s Newark campus. She was a member of the skating club and wrote for the student newspaper, eventually becoming features editor when she transitioned to the main campus.

“Students came from the Newark campus to Wilmington to tell us about all the activities we could be part of, so that made it easy to be involved,” said Read, who earned her bachelor’s in 2011, went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and is now a news reporter in Delaware.

Apply Now

Delawareans can still apply directly to the AAP for Fall 2022, or apply for Fall 2023 when UD’s undergraduate applications open on August 1, 2022. 

Learn more and apply today!

Contact Information:
University of Delaware
(302) 831-8123

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