matthew rinde smiling

My mind is awake after years of slumber.


The traditional college environment just doesn’t work for some people. That’s what Matthew Rinde discovered when he started taking classes at a college campus after high school.

“I began school in 1997 and took an 18-year hiatus,” Matthew explains.

During those 18 years, a lot changed for Matthew. He got married, and then he and his wife welcomed twin boys into their family. Matthew was also working full-time at a communications company. All of these developments came with responsibilities, and those responsibilities made it even more difficult for Matthew to go back to school and complete his degree. And yet, he realized that a degree could be an important part of his long-term plan.

“I knew that to progress and get promoted within my company, a degree would increase my chances for success,” Matthew explains. “I wanted to be a positive role model to my children.”

Fortunately for Matthew, a solution presented itself at work. His employer participates in Ashford University’s Full Tuition Grant program. The company’s tuition benefits combine with a grant from Ashford to cover the cost of tuition and other education-related expenses. Better still, Ashford’s online format looked like a good fit for Matthew’s busy lifestyle. He realized this was his chance to go back to school and finish his degree without student debt.

“It’s a great opportunity, and I feel fortunate to have the chance to pursue and complete my degree,” Matthew says.

Matthew enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Business Leadership program at the Forbes School of Business & Technology™ in 2015. Although a great deal had changed since Matthew last attended college, he quickly adapted to the new realities of online education. “I like the engagement on the discussion boards from the professors,” he reports.

“I was surprised at the many resources that are available on day one,” Matthew adds. “Each class has brought new knowledge to what’s available for all Ashford students. The Ashford Writing Center has been a great resource to help me to succeed with my essays and assignments. Grammarly has been a tremendous resource that I use daily.”

Having found a college experience that works for him, Matthew has noticed the impact that education has had on his life.

“My life has indeed changed – and for the better,” Matthew says. “My mind is awake after years of slumber. I see things in a new light.”

It is a change that Matthew’s employer has noticed, too.

“An old theory goes that completing a degree has a Return on Investment (ROI) several years removed from its completion,” says Gerry Balagtas, Matthew’s manager. “I disagree with that. In this case, ROI is immediate. As Matt’s manager, I have seen the quality of his communication (both written and verbal), his critical/creative skills, and his resource planning appreciably improve while being a student with Ashford. The improvement in these skills have all parlayed into an almost immediate return in improved productivity and interpersonal effectiveness, which, in the workplace, are critical to success.”

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