The University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee’s Life Impact Program, which provides financial and academic support for student parents, is making a difference in many lives.
For Yeni Salgado, the Life Impact scholarship provided the money to finish her engineering education when she didn’t know how she’d be able to afford to continue her schooling.
For Rhandi Roberson, Life Impact staff were key to helping her navigate the social services system so she could get the childcare assistance from the county that she needed to stay in school and complete her nursing degree.
For Chanda Wells, the laptop computer she got through the program came just in time – she was sharing an old computer with her two children who also needed it for schoolwork.
For Jesse Waukau, now a graduate accounting student in UWM’s Sheldon B.Lubar School of Business, it was the support and encouragement the program offered that helped him earn his bachelor’s degree.
For Ann Gieschen Salazar, who’s completing her degree in nursing and has a nursing job waiting, the Life Impact program was vital as she prepared for a new career to support her family after a divorce.
They are among the students who are or who have been helped by UWM’s Life Impact program. This unique UWM program is designed to assist low-income students who are parents – particularly single parents – start and fi nish college. The six-year pilot, established in 2005 through a grant from the Jane Bradley Pettit Foundation, will eventually provide more than 200 scholarships. One of the major goals is to demonstrate that, with help and support, low income parents can overcome significant obstacles, complete college and move into family-supporting careers.
Life Impact provides a renewable scholarship to cover tuition, but also offers a wide variety of support services to help students who are raising children, going to college and often holding down a job or internship.
Yeni Salgado, who was a single mother when she started school, was facing serious financial stresses at the end of the lst school year. “It was such a huge relief,” says the engineering senior of the Life Impact scholarship she received for 2009-10.
Life Impact scholars also receive a laptop computer from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guarantee Corporation. Being able to work from home makes a huge difference in busy lives. “It was a wonderful help,” says Chanda Wells, who raised a younger brother and sister after her mother’s death and chose college to provide a better life for her own two children. She’s scheduled to graduate in May, 2010 with a degree in Health Sciences and a minor in healthcare administration.
The support of the Life Impact staff and encouragement from other parents is a vital part of the program. Jesse Waukau, then a single father, was among the first Life Impact scholars. When he ran into personal and academic problems, the staff encouraged him and helped him find a career he loves. “They never said ‘If you don’t shape up, we’ll drop you from the program,’” he says. “[Instead] they asked, ‘What can we do to help you get through this?’” He now is married and working on his master’s degree. His wife will start college this winter.
The Life Impact Program is now accepting applications for the 2010-11 academic year. At least 10 applicants will be selected to enter the program for the upcoming year. The program is open to first-time freshmen, new undergraduate transfer students and continuing UWM undergraduate students who are parents and have a demonstrated financial need.
Priority deadline is March 1, 2010.
For more information on the program and requirements, contact Life Coach/Coordinator 414-229-4431 or firstname.lastname@example.org, www.lifeimpact.uwm.edu. Requirements and an application form are also available online.