EDUCATION: Ferris receives $64,775 grant for single-parent students

BIG RAPIDS – Single parents attending Ferris State University will receive extra assistance in entertaining their children through a recent $64,755 grant.

The grant, from Endicott College in Massachusetts and the Kellogg Foundation, will support Ferris’ Single Parent Initiative with its new Key to Degrees program for students who also are single parents.

Funds will provide education events and activities for families of students. Eligible students and their families will be able to participate in museum tours, Great Star Collaborative workshops and conferences, Prevention Network parenting seminars and other fun family activities. Often it is difficult for single parents paying tuition to afford such activities for their families.

“I think it’s definitely important. It’s definitely a need. It’s also known that our number of students with children has grown over the years,” said Karen GreenBay, coordinator of Ferris’ SCHOLAR Peer Mentoring Program and advisor of student organization Students With Children. “Their needs are much different from those of the traditional and international students. We definitely will be working to support this group of students to help them progress through college.”

GreenBay noted that single-parent students typically have additional expenses beyond those of traditional college students. While the challenges are greater for many single-parent students, she said, the completion of a college degree is possible.

The grant will be used during three semesters beginning with the Fall 2012 term.

“We just want to monitor the students through the semester, monitor their grades and how their families are adjusting,” GreenBay said. “The main thing is education. Our next goal is to provide some enjoyment and entertainment for the families.”

Applications for Keys to Degrees will be available online later during the current semester. The program will be patterned after similar efforts at Endicott and Eastern Michigan University.

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