South Piedmont Associate in a Year Grad Gained New Confidence — and a Pay Raise

Photo of Iris Delgado

South Piedmont Associate in a Year graduate Iris Delgado

For nearly two decades, Iris Delgado felt she was “less than” her coworkers because she didn’t have a college degree.

In a year’s time, through South Piedmont’s Associate in a Year program, that feeling disappeared. It was replaced with new confidence and possibilities for her future.

The Associate in a Year program allows students to earn an Associate in Arts degree, which would normally take two years, in just 12 months. Applications for the fall semester are now being accepted; the deadline is July 21. Request more information about the Associate in a Year program here.

“I feel so much better now. I learned so much,” Delgado said.

“I even got a raise because of my degree.”

Delgado attended high school in Puerto Rico. When she graduated in 1992, she enlisted in the U.S. Army, completing basic training in South Carolina before being stationed in California. There, she met her husband and had her first child.

After two years of service, Delgado left the Army to concentrate on being a mother. In addition to her son, who is now 30, she has a daughter who is 19.

While raising her family, she worked in the insurance industry, first as a receptionist then as an underwriter. She currently works as an executive assistant.

All those years, she wanted to go to college, but it was “on the back burner,” she said.

“I knew I could have a better career if I had a degree. I work with a lot of intelligent people, and I always felt like I wasn’t quite good enough because I didn’t have that degree,” she said.

“I wanted to better myself, but it was hard to do that while raising children and working full-time.”

When she heard about South Piedmont’s Associate in a Year Program, she finally saw a way to her degree.

“It’s an accelerated and very challenging program,” she said.

“But the class schedule (classes are offered two evenings a week and on Saturday mornings) fit with my work schedule.”

In addition, students in the Associate in a Year program benefit from South Piedmont’s hybrid-flexible course delivery format, which allows them to attend in person or online, either in real time or at the time that suits their schedules.

“I went to a lot of classes, but on the days that I didn’t feel like actually going, I attended online,” she said. “That flexibility made it easier for me to stick with the program and finish my degree.”

Delgado graduated in December 2022, at the age of 49. 

“I learned so much during the program. I loved it. I loved learning about history and music and public speaking. I also learned that I am capable of so much more than I thought I could ever do,” she said.

Delgado also received a pay increase after she graduated, which will help her pay for her daughter’s college education.

“This program changed my outlook on life. I am very thankful for SPCC.”

Learn more about the Associate in a Year program at spcc.edu/associate-in-a-year.

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