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$1.6 million in higher education grants to help Pa. students raising children

 A large building with a student walking toward it.
Emily Reddy
Penn State's Human Resources is in the process of implementing a new compensation and employee classification system, which was the focus of complaints at the July 11, 2023, Faculty Senate meeting.

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration announced more than $1.6 million in grant funding to post secondary institutions to help undergraduate students with children.

The 2024 Parent Pathways Grant will provide eligible institutions with funds to improve scholarships, tuition assistance, programing, childcare facilities and more. Part of Shapiro’s blueprint for higher education, the grants are one of the ways the administration is trying to make education affordable and accessible to more Pennsylvania residents.

In Pittsburgh, rising tuition costs continue to price out many local families and students from attending college like the University of Pittsburgh, which is one of the country’s most expensive public universities. The newly announced grants seek specifically to help alleviate financial burdens of higher education for students raising children.

A recent study by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research, found that more than 1 in 5 college students raise children while attending school — and nearly half of them do not complete their 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,” noted a news release announcing the program.

Eligible institutions will have until March 12 to apply to participate in the Parent Pathways Grant Program, which could expand parent programing and childcare facilities, increase scholarships and more.

Betül Tuncer is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh double majoring in Media and Professional Communications and Legal Studies and pursuing a Digital Media certificate and a Museum Studies minor.