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Shapiro Administration Awards $1.7 Million to 12 Colleges and Universities to Support Parenting Students


Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) today announced that it has awarded $1.7 million in grant funding to 12 colleges and universities across the Commonwealth to help fund scholarships and programming for undergraduate students with children.

“The Shapiro Administration is committed to breaking down barriers to higher education, and that is especially true for students who are earning a degree while also raising a family,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin. “By addressing the significant burdens of parenting students, the Parent Pathways Grant Program will empower these learners and their families to chart their own course and succeed.”

Making higher education affordable and accessible for all Pennsylvanians is a key priority of Governor Josh Shapiro’s blueprint for higher education—a plan that dramatically increases funding for state colleges and universities, unites them under a new governance structure, and caps tuition costs for income eligible students to ensure a higher education is affordable for all. Governor Shapiro’s 2024-25 budget proposal invests $975 million in the community colleges and PASSHE universities that will comprise this new system, a 15 percent increase in the amount of funding those institutions received last year. In addition, the Governor’s plan calls for an investment to make higher education more affordable by ensuring students from families making up to the median income will pay no more than $1,000 in tuition and fees per semester at state-owned universities and community colleges. Furthermore, to help students attending state-related universities and independent colleges, Governor Shapiro’s plan will increase PHEAA state grants by $1,000 for students from families making up to the median income.

The following institutions received Parent Pathways Grants:

Allegheny County

  • Carlow University, $150,000
  • Community College of Allegheny County, $150,000

Chester County

  • Immaculata University, $95,268
  • West Chester University of Pennsylvania, $150,000

Delaware County

  • Pennsylvania Institute of Technology, $150,000

Indiana County

  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania - Main, $149,998

Lackawanna County

  • Lackawanna College, $150,000

Lancaster County

  • Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, $150,000

Montgomery County

  • Montgomery County Community College - Main, $149,968

Philadelphia County

  • Holy Family University, $107,000
  • Peirce College, $150,000

Westmoreland County

  • Seton Hill University, $150,000

The Parent Pathways Grant Program offers institutions the opportunity to apply for competitive funding:

  • To expand parent programming, resources, and supports or to implement parent programming, resources, and supports. Funding can be used, but is not limited to, wrap-around services for students, expansion of childcare facilities, staffing salary support for parent navigators, transportation supports, and other expansion of work already being accomplished on campus.
  • For scholarships covering tuition, fees, housing, meals, books, childcare, etc.
  • For the use of stipends/emergency funding up to a maximum amount as determined by the institution.

Studies indicate that one in five undergraduate college students is balancing the responsibilities of raising children while pursuing a postsecondary education, and nearly half of them do not earn a degree. Parenting students bear significant burdens and need additional support to navigate through their academic program successfully, and the Parent Pathways Grant Program provides funding to institutions to directly support the persistence of these students in the form of tuition assistance, emergency funding, and wrap-around services.

In December 2022, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services released a policy report following consultations with parenting students, postsecondary institution staff, subject matter experts, various state agencies, and community leaders. The Parent Pathways Learning Network (PPLN) concentrated on addressing the necessary support for food, childcare, housing, and financial aid. The results underscored the importance of integrating the firsthand experiences of parenting students into statewide policymaking.  

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the Department of Education website or follow PDE on InstagramFacebookTwitterYouTube, or Pinterest.

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