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$1 million gift helps students with long gap between high school, college restart academic careers

There are many reasons students don't start college immediately after high school, and keep putting it off or never attend. The University of Dayton's Osher Reentry Scholarship, now endowed with a $1 million gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation, helps remove some of those challenges.

As a young, single parent, Corey Deel '23 understands those challenges; she tabled aspirations for higher education while she focused on her daughter Zoe.

“At 18, I watched my friends prepare for college as I prepared to give birth to my daughter,” Deel said. “I thought I would never be able to (attend college), logistically and financially. Zoe was my first priority, so I couldn’t spend a lot of time and money elsewhere — she needed that.” 

As Zoe got older, Deel's mindset changed and she started taking a few classes at Sinclair Community College. 

“Zoe and I actually started school on the same day; the day she went to kindergarten was my first day at Sinclair. We both had our little backpacks on,” she said.  

The anticipated expense seemed insurmountable to Deel, but an academic adviser at Sinclair assured her a career as a neuropsychologist was accessible — and she could begin by completing her bachelor's degree at UD, thanks to donor-supported initiatives. 

“I saw all of the scholarship support I would receive and realized it was possible,” said Deel, a recipient of an Osher Reentry Scholarship designated for students with at least a five-year educational gap after high school. Deel also is enrolled in the UD Sinclair Academy, a partnership between UD and Sinclair that provides a pathway for a growing number of Sinclair students to seamlessly transition to UD. 

"Thanks to the Bernard Osher Foundation's gift, we can offer this to well-deserving students in perpetuity," Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management Jason Reinoehl said. "Support for programs like the UD Sinclair Academy and the Osher Reentry Scholarship help make it possible for talented students like Corey to attend UD. Reentry students have talents, diverse experiences and perspectives that enrich the educational experience for all, in and out of the classroom."

In place since 2020, each student receiving an Osher Reentry Scholarship has graduated or stayed in school. The average cumulative GPA for students is 3.42. Deel boosts that average with her 3.96 cumulative GPA, while juggling an average 14 credits and a part-time job — and, most importantly, her parental responsibilities. 

“Without donors, this opportunity wouldn’t be possible for me,” she said. “I have worked hard to get here and feel confident in my ability to create the life I’ve dreamt of, but I couldn’t do it alone.”

Visit to learn more about the program.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at


News and Communications Staff