Magazine article University Business

Removing College Obstacles for Single Moms

Magazine article University Business

Removing College Obstacles for Single Moms

Article excerpt

An act as simple as handing out bottled water and granola bars before a long evening class can change the course of a college career--especially when the student on the receiving end is a single mother who has just rushed over to campus after a full day at work.

Of course, bigger hurdles like tuition, child care, transportation and housing can stand more imposingly in the way of getting a degree. But every little bit helps as long as you provide a range of support services, says Alana Wiens, director of the Family Economic Security Program at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Connecticut. "Were a whatever-it-takes organization. We want to remove as many of the obstacles as we can to get them to graduation."

The growing program, which launched with 50 students in fall 2015, is open to all students but has enrolled many single mothers seeking help balancing family, work and college. At its core are three tiers of coaching: academic, career and financial. Students attended an average of five coaching meetings in the first semester.

The program's advisors guide students in setting career goals and choosing classes that will give them the skills to land a better job or transfer to a four-year school. …

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