A program at East Michigan University aims to help young single parents get a college degree, by providing specialised housing and assistance for them and their children, on campus.
The program, called Keys to Degrees, is aimed at single parents who are aged between 18 and 24 years, and whose children are 18 months old and up. EMU is launching the program as a way to reach out to the youngsters, who often feel set apart from their peers in that they might not have the opportunity to go to college, because of their family situation.
To quote Lynette Findley, the assistant vice president for retention and student success at EMU: “The purpose is to provide what I consider a dream deferred. They still have an opportunity to get an education. For them to know there’s still hope.”
There are not many programs like it – the Higher Education Alliance for Residential Single Parent Programs lists only seven colleges across the nation that will house single parent families. While the program is not free – students must still pay their own tuition, housing and child care – the university has promised to work with each student to assist them in finding grants and scholarships.
Some of the extra assistance that the students will receive include the following:
- townhouse-style apartments on campus
- academic and personal development workshops
- help finding internships
- each student will be assigned a mentor from either EMU or the community
Single parent students should contact the Program Director to state their intent to apply to the program. They should first apply for admission to EMU, matching all of the admission requirements. Once they have been accepted, the student can then apply to the Keys to Degrees program. Space in the program is, however, limited, and a spot is not guaranteed even after admission to the university, and it only caters for a single child per student, due to budget constraints.