Veronica Lopez

Veronica Lopez Finishes Her Degree with the Help of Employer Tuition Reimbursement

“Getting into a good college seemed out of reach … now here I am with a degree from Providence College”

Veronica Lopez was in her late 30s, raising two children, and working full time when she returned to college in 2014 to pursue her bachelor’s degree in leadership development studies at Providence College School of Continuing Education (PCSCE)

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Lopez attended community college right out of high school, but didn’t finish a degree program. Her first child was born and she became busy working to support them both. She came to live in southern Massachusetts with a friend in 2007 looking for new opportunities and began working for ADP, the payroll and human resource company, where she worked for 11 years until she was laid off. 

Though the layoff was difficult, Lopez is grateful to ADP. The decade working for ADP provided her with a wealth of experience. Additionally, the company’s tuition reimbursement program had covered a significant portion of her college studies, leaving her able to pay the difference thanks to PCSCE’s affordable tuition cost and transfer credits (40 of them) from her time in community college. 

“I wish I had taken advantage of the tuition reimbursement program earlier, but I didn’t think I could balance work and school and family,” said Lopez. “But my Vice President at ADP had done it and he said, ‘you can too.’ When you see that other people are balancing what seems impossible, they become like an inspiration to you and you realize it’s definitely possible. Childcare, balancing life and the cost of tuition made it difficult to return to school but I knew it wasn’t impossible. I realized I had been [trying to go back to school] for years and decided that this time I was sticking with it.” 

Lopez’s boss at ADP was attending PC and had recommended it. She didn’t know much about PC at the time, but after doing some research and learning that it was a Catholic school, it seemed to be a perfect fit because she had grown up Catholic. 

“The opportunity felt like a calling for me to finish something I was passionate about and that was to finish school. I also didn’t realize a prestigious school like PC offered programs like the School of Continuing Education for adults like me,” she said. 

“Getting into a good college seemed out of reach when I was in high school and now here I am with a degree from Providence College,” said the Class of 2018 graduate. “The support they provided me and for other PCSCE students was amazing. It’s so hard for people in similar situations to mine to get back into school because of work and family. It can feel like it’s just a dream, but at PCSCE they really work with you to make it a reality.” 

Her advice to other students is to sign up for one class and just do it. “Apply yourself and you’ll begin to see how easy it is to get into the routine, but don’t wait. My biggest regret is that I waited. Going back to school was filled with nothing but rewards for me, and PCSCE was such a great, supportive place to be.” 

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