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Flexibility, credit for work experience help UW-Stevens Point students FinishUp their business degree

August 9, 2021

Joe Vance was tired of not qualifying for a promotion.

Ann Ilagan mastered the creative aspect of her profession, but she needed business knowledge.

Sandy Vang took a two-year break from higher education but was ready to return.

Each of these central Wisconsin residents decided to finish their bachelor’s degree at UW-Stevens Point. Each found flexibility in scheduling classes at the campus closest to their home. They received credit for prior learning experience and scholarships to support their educational goals.

“I’m a photographer – creative, artistic. I got really good at my craft, but I realized I was missing the business half,” Ilagan said. She had an associate degree from Mid-State Technical College and completed her bachelor’s in marketing at UW-Stevens Point in May. All of her MSTC credits transferred.

“It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. UW-Stevens Point was extremely helpful and flexible in working with my schedule. They showed me it was possible to finish my degree a lot sooner than I expected.” 

UW-Stevens Point School of Business and Economics now offers a FinishUp program with enhanced flexibility in scheduling classes, generous credit transfer from area technical colleges and the ability to receiving college credit for prior work experience. FinishUp scholarships are available, saving even more money. Fast, flexible time-to-degree options include online or in-person classes, or a combination.

“We will help you stay on track so you can spend more time with family, run your business or climb the corporate ladder,” said Kevin Neuman, School of Business and Economics chair. Faculty and advisers work with students optimize time to degree and cost while helping students hone professional business skills.

For Vang, the UW-Stevens Point at Wausau campus was key. “As a daughter of Hmong refugees, my parents have always encouraged me to take on opportunities they never had, such as higher education,” Vang said. “When I realized UW-Stevens Point offered a bachelor’s degree in Wausau, I knew it was time to come back and finish what I started after earning my associate degree.”

She will graduate in December 2021 with a bachelor’s in business administration and plans to advance her human resources career.

“There is a business side to every industry and profession,” Neuman said. “This program is perfect for someone who is ready to move into management or move ahead by pairing business skills with technical skills.”

Attending a local campus was also ideal for Vance, who lived and worked in Marshfield. “UW-Stevens Point at Marshfield was a great fit for me because it was convenient and close to home. It allowed me to expand my skillset and prepare me for the business world,” he said.

He needed a bachelor’s degree to pursue opportunities with his employer. “Hearing I was not qualified for a position just motivated me more to continue my educational journey to earn my degree,” Vance said. “I did not want any other doors to shut in my face.”

He completed his degree in business administration in May and is now pursuing his master’s in business administration, which will take only one more year.

“Obtaining my degree with UW-Stevens Point was super flexible. I was able to schedule online courses, plan around my career and build in the family time I needed,” Vance said. His resume was assessed to determine eligibility for college credit based on his work experience. He received nine credits for prior business-related experience as a sales manager and billing specialist, which hastened time-to-degree.

“It was quick and convenient, and it didn’t intrude on family time. I was done in three years, thanks to my professors and adviser who were an amazing support system.”

Family time became even more important as Vance became a father. “I knew I could not fail at obtaining my degree. Having a family and a new daughter, it was just out of the question. My business professors wanted me to succeed as well. It was a different learning environment for me compared to other universities.

“I can now confidently say that my degree will open doors for me to step into larger roles within the organization. I am excited about expanding my possibilities.”

Choose from majors in accounting, business administration, data analytics economics, finance, management and marketing, plus the MBA program, available at campuses in Stevens Point, Marshfield and Wausau.

For details, or to sign up for an information session to learn more about how to finish a degree with the School of Business and Economics, see the Finish Up website  or contact Max Trzebiatowski at, 715-346-2695.

“I 100% encourage you to finish your degree,” Ilagan said. “UWSP will help you get there.”