Merced College is making it easier than ever for working professionals to go back to school, earn a degree and make new strides in their lives and careers.

The college today announced Relaunch — an innovative, accelerated, fully online degree program designed to support working adults and returning students seeking a fresh start. Upon completing the 17-month program, Relaunch students will earn an associate degree in one of four subjects: Administration of Justice, Early Childhood Education, Business Administration, and Computer Technology Information Systems.

Priority registration for the Summer and Fall 2022 terms at Merced College — including the Relaunch programs that start in the fall — began April 11, and registration will be open to all students starting May 4. (See all registration dates here.)

“The pandemic has created a lot of time for reflection, and many adults in our community and across the nation have been reassessing their lives and their futures over the past two years,” President Chris Vitelli said. “At Merced College, we learned a lot from our shift to online education, and we are using those lessons to create a truly innovative, student-centered approach for working professionals to advance their careers.” 

One of the biggest challenges facing returning students is simply knowing what they need to do and where to turn when they need help. The Relaunch model will place students in cohorts, so they’ll be learning alongside the same group of peers throughout their time in the program. And each student will be assigned to a Success Team made up of specialists, faculty and counselors who will be their contacts for any and all issues around financial aid, tutoring, scheduling, support services and more.

Tuition for Relaunch is free for first-time, full-time students who complete the required forms, and generous financial aid packages are available to those who qualify. The inaugural four degree programs will be offered in the Fall 2022 semester, which begins in August.

“Adult students have busy lives to juggle, and finding time for ongoing education can be a major challenge,” said Karissa Morehouse, Vice President of Instruction. “Our goal with Relaunch is to remove all the guesswork and doubts they might have about going back to school, and to give them all the support they need to complete the program, earn their degree and step boldly and confidently into the next chapters of their lives.”

In the cohort model, students will learn together in groups of their peers, forming relationships and supporting each other along the way. All classes will be held online, and support services will be offered virtually.

For most students, an associate degree in their field can lead directly to new job opportunities, advancement within their careers, or new careers altogether.

“We all grow up with big dreams and goals, but life often has other plans for us,” Morehouse said. “The good news is: No matter what stage of life you’re in, your learning and growth never have to stop. The sky is still the limit and you can relaunch your educational goals with Merced College.”


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Merced College does not discriminate, and prohibits harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Media Contact: James Leonard,, 209-681-1061