Among the youngest to enroll in the adult degree program, the Morelands appreciate the acceptance they receive at Huntington University.
Although they are 21-year-old college students, you won’t find Tyler and Ashley Moreland trekking across campus for an 8 a.m. class or eating in the dining commons.
After high school, Fort Wayne residents Tyler and Ashley began working and got married. Tyler enrolled in college for about a year, and Ashley took classes online. When they heard that Tyler’s school would soon close its doors, the couple decided to attend college together. Initially, the Morelands chose separate routes when taking college classes, and had gone to different high schools.
But because they already had jobs, they sought an adult degree program in the area.
Tyler and Ashley chose to enroll in Huntington University’s EXCEL Adult Degree Programs because of the willingness and openness that they felt from the staff.
“It was the willingness to accept us when we are so unique,” says Ashley, who is seeking a bachelor’s degree in human resource management. “You don’t see couples going to school together at this age.” It is certainly an unusual case, as 21 may be the youngest age for any student to enter the adult degree program, with the average student aged 38.
The couple feels blessed to have received approval to enroll in the program. Because they had both attended public high schools, attending a private Christian college meant a great deal to both of them.
“Most of our professors have started out with prayer before class and after class,” Ashley says. “They can be more of spiritual advisors than professors, because of the life experiences that they bring into class. It makes an impact on your spiritual life.”
Tyler is working toward earning a bachelor’s degree in not-for-profit leadership. He compares his learning experience at Huntington to running a long race rather than a sprint. Because the classes are year-round, he says he feels like he is continually learning how to integrate his Christian faith into his everyday life.
Most of the couple’s classes are held at the program's Columbia City site. Only having to drive from Fort Wayne one night a week makes it easier for them to keep up with coursework while also holding a job during the day.
“The way it’s structured puts a great deal on your shoulders as far as responsibility,” says Tyler, because "you’re not going to class every day.”
But Ashley adds that the professors understand that the students have full-time jobs and other responsibilities. She describes the course loads as being “just right” for them.