From Unexpected Tragedy to New Possibilities

CTU Student Danielle CunninghamWhen Hurricane Katrina struck the lively and bustling city of New Orleans in 2005, no one could have imaged the devastation that would be left behind. One of the deadliest natural disasters to affect the United States, Katrina changed the landscape of the city—as well as the lives of those who lived there.

Danielle Cunningham was one of the many lives transformed by Katrina. “My family was split apart,” she remembers. For years, she moved from place to place in search of a place to set down roots and reclaim her life.

Before Katrina, Danielle was attending community college and pursuing her dream of earning a degree. After being displaced by Katrina, that goal was put on the back burner as she worked to rebuild her life.

Eventually, she settled in Baton Rouge to be near family. Despite the difficulty of rebuilding after Katrina and abruptly stopping her education, Danielle says the break from community college allowed her to redefine her purpose and goals. “When I look back, I realize that community college wasn’t for me,” she says, “I want more.”

That “more” ultimately became earning a bachelor’s degree at CTU.

Danielle researched a number of college options and landed on CTU after connecting with a Student Success Coach. Having never taken an online course, she was admittedly skeptical but decided to take the leap and has been enrolled since May 2015. She is expected to earn an undergraduate degree in healthcare management in 2017.

Like many CTU students, Danielle works full-time—currently in the central billing office for the State of Louisiana’s human services division. Her primary role is to submit claims to insurance companies and brokers, and while she enjoys her work, she aspires for more.

Eventually, she would like to grow into a management and senior administrative role within a healthcare facility. She says earning her degree from CTU will help make that happen.

To help move her goals forward more quickly, Danielle is taking advantage of CTU’s Fast Track program. So far she has completed FastTrack exams in project management, human resources and other core courses, which has already advanced her graduation date from 2018 to 2017. “Fast Track didn’t cost me anything extra and I’m saving a year’s worth of tuition and time,” she says.

But saving time and money isn’t the only aspect of Fast Track that Danielle appreciates. Preparing for and taking Fast Track exams not only offers her a quick refresher on topics she’s already familiar with, but has increased her confidence. “It’s nice taking the exam and thinking, ‘Hey, I still got it!’”

A mother of two school-aged children and in the midst of planning an October 2016 wedding, Danielle appreciates all the benefits of earning her degree at CTU—from saving time and money with Fast Track to the flexibility to take courses when and how it fits into her busy lifestyle.

Danielle credits CTU’s innovative learning platform and programs like Fast Track for helping her create a new vision for her future. She says being a CTU student has been a true motivator; especially as she looks at her progress and how much closer she is to her goal compared to when she began.

“I love that I can set goals and know that I have the support of CTU to help me achieve them.”

The ability to reduce time in school and/or reduce tuition depends on the number of Fast Track™ courses successfully passed. Fast Track™ program credits are unlikely to transfer. Not all programs are eligible for possible 30% reduction in time and money.