Did you know that more than one in five college students are parents? And of those, almost 55 percent are single parents!
Getting to class on time, studying for tests, completing group projects, and working on a paper can be challenging for many students. Imagine doing all that plus feeding your daughter, getting her ready for school before your language lab, then doing her homework with her when she gets home?
The good news is that more and more colleges recognize the needs of these student parents and are putting in place the resources and support to help parents balance their family and academic lives.
Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., was one of the first colleges in the country to offer family housing and support to single parents and their children. In 1996 the College created its Single Parent Scholar (SPS) program. In the over two decades since then, the college has learned what single parents need to succeed and is sharing its experiences with colleges across the country.
From the beginning, Wilson’s SPS program provided comfortable on-campus housing and access to daycare for children. But it soon learned that relatively simple additions could make a big difference to student parents. Access to laundry facilities in the residence building, allowing children to eat in the dining hall, and creating safe spaces and playgrounds for the children help families succeed on campus.
Also, it is important to create a supportive environment where parents and children can participate in campus life and feel a part of the learning community. Student parents are great mentors for each other, and creating support groups where new parents learn from parents already a year or two into the program is an excellent way to ease the transition into college. Parent mentors can help new families navigate everything from where to shop locally to finding the academic resources they need. They can even help them make friends within the community.
As other colleges offer services to single parents and their children, they can learn from the success Wilson College’s SPS program has had, serving over 190 student parents and their children to date.
Wilson College Single Parent Scholar Program
Living on Campus
Each family gets a two-room suite with a private bathroom
Families on each floor share a kitchen, playroom, and computer room
Laundry facilities are free
Families can remain in their rooms throughout the summer regardless of whether they are taking summer courses
Up to two children can live with a parent on campus
School-age children can attend daycare and before- and after-school programs locally at no cost to their parent
Children eat for free in the dining hall during the academic year
Parents can be of any age but must be enrolled full-time
Affordable tuition rates are the same as those for students without children
100 percent of SPS parents receive financial aid.
For more information call (717) 262-2002; or email firstname.lastname@example.org