Student Finds His Stride – And His Degree – at eVersity 

As a law enforcement professional, Brandon Dehart is used to staying light on his feet, prepared for anything and everything his job can throw at him. But when it came to higher education, the Van Buren native kept falling into the same old ruts where college felt like too much to handle. 

“It was just so hard to work and go to school,” he said. “I had a Pell Grant paying for my classes, but I was still having to work to pay my rent, to pay my car payment and all of that stuff. I became so overwhelmed with my classes because I was trying to work to pay my bills. It was too much; I decided ‘I can’t do this.’” 

After dropping out of college, Dehart started working and eventually landed with the highway police. After a few years on the job, a distressing realization hit.

“I’d worked for the highway police for five years and one day I realized I’m missing out on so much extra money, every year, by not having a college degree,” he said. “The highway police would even pay for my education, so there was no reason not to go back to school.” 

Dehart was motivated, setting his sights firmly on a bachelor’s degree. A friend referred him to the University of Arkansas System eVersity and he took a shine to the format immediately.  

“The whole process, honestly, was very appealing to me,” he said. “One class at a time for six weeks made it so much easier because I wasn’t having to focus on three or four classes. I really liked the idea of only focusing on one subject in that short period of time.” 

Even more appealing, Dehart said, was the price tag, which is much lower than what he’d seen out of other schools.  

“There’s no internet fees, no book fees,” he said. “At other places, I’m paying for all this other stuff and I’m not even actually attending there. I’m just going there online.” 

Once enrolled, Dehart immediately took to eVersity’s all-online class format. For the first time, he said, higher education clicked. 

“At eVersity, I just fell right in, taking a couple classes at a time,” he said. “I also liked the fact that I didn’t just have to stay with that same pace, every week. If I had some extra time during the week on my day off, I could go ahead and move up into next week and get my reading done. If I needed to get ahead because work was going to be busy next week, I could.” 

Dehart’s efforts were aided by the university’s staff, who helped him plan out his degree path and provided other support. His professors were equally accommodating.   

I never had to wait to hear from an instructor if I emailed them or had a question; or even the advisors,” he said. “The last advisor I had, if she wasn’t there, somebody else was taking care of me and getting it handled. All my instructors were really good about answering email. I even heard instructors in some of my classes say, ‘I’m going to be gone this weekend, but I’ve got my mobile phone with me. If something arises and you seriously need some help, give me a call.’ I really thought that was neat and not at all typical among college professors.”

After years of waiting and working, Dehart finally accepted his degree in criminal justice, something he’s been able to put to work right away on the job. 

“All of my criminal justice classes fit today’s standards,” he said. “A lot of times in law enforcement classes, you might be getting materials from a case in the ‘80’s. It’s kind of outdated and it’s not used today. Everything with eVersity that I had was ideal for the current standards. It was up-to-date information.” 

Today, the future has never been brighter for the 37-year-old husband and father of two.   

If you look at my transcripts from my first go-round with college right out of high school and eVersity, it’s day and night,” he said. “I wasn’t a good college student then. I went to class, but I struggled with everything. With eVersity, the material was there, the teachers and instructors are there and you can tell that they are there to help. Everything is in place to help you; all you have to do is put forth a little bit of effort and do your work.”   

And though it’s not always easy to dodge the grind, the quick progress at eVersity allows students to continually make progress with the light at the end of the tunnel always burning bright.

Sure, there’s times where you just feel like you’re never going to be able to get it done, but with eVersity, as soon as you turn around, it’s been one class, already,” he said. “That six weeks goes by so quick. My advice is just jump out there; if you give this just a little bit of effort, you’ll make it.”