Howard Community College is set to join forces with the nonprofit Generation Hope’s FamilyU Cohort, a technical assistance program aimed at strengthening campus support services for students who are parenting while attending college. Through the two-year experience, HCC will receive tools, information, data and coaching to implement systems to drive increased course completion and address barriers faced by student parents.

The engagement will provide HCC with a structured approach to evaluate and enhance its existing programs and services for student parents. Career Links is HCC’s primary support program; via this offering, students receive mentorship, peer-support, career counseling and financial assistance.

HCC estimates that one in four students are raising a child while attending college, and that education has a generational impact. With this in mind, the college recently unveiled a new Family Study Room in the library, designed to provide a safe and inviting space for kids and parents. The room offers games, books, whiteboards and enrichment activities for children, while their parent or caregiver can study and complete coursework.

During the next two years, HCC will work with FamilyU to develop a customized work plan to develop stronger programs to support student parents, especially those from marginalized communities who typically face more pronounced economic impacts.

“Having been a student-parent myself, I can relate to the struggles and challenges faced by student parents at Howard Community College,” said Daria Willis, HCC president. “I want to ensure all our students receive the care and opportunities they require to succeed in their studies, their community and their future. Being part of the FamilyU Cohort demonstrates our commitment to the success of our student parents, their children and generations to come.”

HCC was among five colleges invited to participate in Generation Hope’s FamilyU Cohort.

Other colleges in the FamilyU Cohort are College Unbound, Providence, RI; Dallas College, Dallas; Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, NJ; and Jackson State College, Jackson, Miss.