From left, Wilson College President Barbara K. Mistick, Pennsylvania DHS Secretary Teresa Miller and Wilson Vice President for Student Development Mary Beth Williams.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller today visited the Single Parent Scholar Program at Wilson College to learn about the acclaimed program and discuss opportunities to expand post-secondary education and training options for single-parent families.

Gov.Tom Wolf's proposed 2019-20 budget includes $5 million to support up to seven partnerships to develop and implement programs for post-secondary education and training for single parents. The Parent Pathways model will focus on post-secondary education and training partnerships, housing supports and two-generational programming that supports healthy child and family development, according to a DHS news release.

“Economically disenfranchised families and single-parent households face significant barriers to accessing higher education or post-secondary job training," Miller said. "When you’re balancing your family’s immediate needs and trying to make ends meet, taking time off work to seek education and training may be impossible. Programs like the Single Parent Scholars Program at Wilson College are providing services and supports to help parents and families get ahead and break the cycle of poverty.”

Wilson College’s Single Parent Scholar Program provides on-campus housing year-round to single parents and their children so the parent can pursue a bachelor’s degree and participate in campus life, including clubs, athletics and student government.  The college also provide on-campus child care for students' childen ages 20 months to 5 years. The program, formerly known as the Women with Children program until men were admitted a few years ago, celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016.

“Over the past 22 years, Wilson’s Single Parent Scholar Program has helped open the door to college education─first to single mothers and now to single fathers as well─whether they are 18 or 48 years old,” said Wilson President Barbara K. Mistick. “That’s why this program is so special. It gives students the opportunity to achieve their dreams. And we know the experience of living at a college also profoundly affects their children and encourages them to follow in their parents’ footsteps. So it’s a very positive cycle for everyone.”

Wolf's administration is currently exploring opportunities for creating programs that support access to and engagement in postsecondary education, training, and family-sustaining employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged single-parent families.

Published: March 25, 2019