DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The University of Dayton (UD) just received a $1 million gift from the Bernard Osher Foundation to help send adult students to college. The foundation believes sometimes life simply gets in the way, but getting a college education was just made easier.

2012 Greenon High School graduate Corey Deel is the University of Dayton’s scholarship recipient. She became a mother right around her 19th birthday, and put pursuing a college education to the side to focus on her daughter. Now, she’s set to graduate next year at UD, but only because of a special scholarship to make financial ends meet at the university.

“It’s within reach and I really hope that people in the community also feel like it’s within reach for them, no matter where they are,” said Corey Deel.

Now 29 years old, Deel remembers when she just turned 19 and gave birth to her daughter Zoe. She felt like life was one big challenge.

“I think it was probably just learning how to be a mom, growing up at the same time and helping someone else grow up while I was doing that too,” said Deel.

Fast forward 10 years later, Corey is about to graduate from the University of Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in neuropsychology, all thanks to Dayton’s Osher Reentry Scholarship. From the Bernard Osher Foundation’s $1 million gift, people in need of financial assistance are able to go back and pursue their first baccalaureate degree. People who show academic promise and commitment to degree completion, and have experienced a cumulative gap of five or more years in their education qualify.

Corey remembers when she made the scariest decision of all to go back to school after so many years. But this time, her first day back was on the same day as her daughter’s first day of kindergarten.

“I don’t know, perfect, it was really sweet but tough to suck up all my momma tears and go to class but I had an hour gap and we made it happen,” said Deel.

Even if a student’s journey looks different than Deel’s, she believes anyone who wants to go back to school should take a leap of faith with UD’s scholarship.

“I had no idea it was this accessible and I know it’s a huge struggle for a lot of people but just being able to let people know this is possible at all is huge and just little by little it’s accessible and can be done,” said Deel.

Corey is set to graduate in the spring of 2023 with a cumulative GPA of 3.96. She plans to attend medical school after graduation.