BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Life can be hard to balance as a single parent, but Champlain College has a program to help single parents earn an undergraduate degree.
For 35 years now, Champlain’s Single Parents Program has helped more than 600 students go out into the community with degrees and jobs, and now a $1 million donation will help even more parents in the years to come
“There’s no better time like now to do it,” said Caitlin Brower, a student.
Brower is in her fourth year of a social work major at Champlain College, and she’s also a single parent. She lost her job during the pandemic and wanted to go to school.
She’s able to be at Champlain thanks to the Single Parents Program, one of just 10 of its kind in the country, which allows her to not worry about the massive burden of school loans.
“It allows me to go to school full time instead of doing it piece by piece, so in the long run it allows me to get my degree faster and for me to start my new career faster,” Brower said.
The scholarship program works in conjunction with Pell and VSAC grants to allow students to get an undergraduate degree while just paying for living expenses.
The program also connects students with help for food insecurity, child care, housing and a case manager who helps facilitate students’ journeys.
“They’re impressive, impressive students that are working incredibly hard and it is a lot of work. What they are doing is hard, and we are really proud they’re our students and that they come to Champlain,” said Sarah Boston Andriano of Champlain College’s advancement and community engagement.
After three and a half decades of sending 680 single-parent students out into the workforce, they have now been gifted a $1 million grant from the Courtney and Victoria Buffum Foundation to support single mothers going through the program.
Over the last several years, they’ve had nearly a 100% career success rate coming out of school, and it’s not just the parents who are benefitting.
“I also see parents really highly motivated by setting a positive example for their children, teaching their children that they can achieve their higher education goals and creating that narrative in their families that college is attainable,” said Emily Merrill, the single parents program coordinator.
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