West Chester University Receives Grant to Support Parenting Students

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WEST CHESTER, PAWest Chester University (WCU) has been awarded a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to support undergraduate students who are also parents. WCU is one of only 12 universities in Pennsylvania to receive this funding through the Parent Pathways Grant Program.

Significance of the Grant

The $150,000 grant will be administered by WCU’s Center for Women & Gender Equity. The funding aims to provide comprehensive support to student parents, who face unique challenges balancing their academic responsibilities with raising children. Lindsey Mosvick, director of the Center, emphasized the impact of this grant. “This grant will allow us to award 25 parenting students with robust $5,000 scholarships; help us continue the large-scale parenting events we know are most effective for them and their families; and hopefully help fund a facilities project that will be child-friendly and child-centered,” she said.

Challenges for Student Parents

Parenting students often struggle to complete their degrees due to the dual pressures of academics and child-rearing. Studies show that one in five undergraduate students is also a parent, and nearly half of these students do not graduate. At WCU, approximately 400 students are balancing these responsibilities.

Efforts to Support Parenting Students

WCU’s Student Parent Task Force has developed initiatives to improve the recruitment and retention of parenting students. These efforts include identifying resources, creating a listserv for 448 parenting students, and organizing community-building events. The Center for Women & Gender Equity also maintains an online resource repository accessible 24/7 through the university’s D2L platform.

Empowering Student Parents

WCU is part of the Parent Pathways Learning Network (PPLN), which contributed to a policy report by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. This report highlighted the importance of integrating parenting students’ experiences into statewide policymaking. Such efforts aim to break down barriers and support student parents’ success.

Statewide Commitment

Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin praised the initiative, stating, “The Shapiro administration is committed to breaking down barriers to higher education, and that is especially true for students who are earning a degree while also raising a family.” By addressing these burdens, the Parent Pathways Grant Program aims to empower student parents and their families to succeed.

The grant signifies a critical investment in the future of parenting students, ensuring they receive the support needed to achieve their educational goals while managing family responsibilities.

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