Montgomery College One of Four Community Colleges in the Nation to Receive Ascend/Aspen Institute Funding to Support Student-Parents

Montgomery College will join a cohort of four community colleges across the country selected to partner with Ascend at the Aspen Institute’s Postsecondary Leadership Circle Activation Fund. Ascend’s new capacity-building fund provides financial support and expert technical assistance to selected community college campuses to accelerate institutional investment into expanding effective, equitable, and culturally-informed student parent supports.

Nationally, one in five college students – close to 4 million – is a parent. Almost half of all U.S. student parents attend community college, and 70% of these parents are mothers – making institutions like Montgomery College uniquely positioned to improve student parent outcomes, especially for single mothers.

Investing in student parents, and single mothers, postsecondary success immediately benefits families, communities, and the economy. Student parents, especially single mothers, are especially likely to benefit from the earning gains experienced by college graduates: parents who complete college degrees double their lifetime income. That is why Ascend, with support from ECMC Foundation, created the Postsecondary Leadership Circle Activation Fund.

“Montgomery College is proud to have been selected by Ascend for funding to further support our student parents, said Montgomery College President Jermaine F. Williams. “Collecting more meaningful data on student parents and training faculty and staff in support strategies for them will further help Montgomery College build and enhance equitable initiatives so students can discover their passions and unlock their potential to transform lives, enrich the community, and change the world. Parents are a vital part of our student community and MC is deeply committed to their success.”

Montgomery College will receive $75,000 to implement two strategies to advance student parent work at the institution. The first of these strategies is systematic identification of and data collection from student parents. The second strategy is the development of professional development modules for faculty and staff, with the aim of better supporting student parents in and out of the classroom. The College will also receive regular expert technical assistance from Ascend and opportunities to learn from a community of practice to support their work.

“Building pathways for every family to flourish across generations is central to Ascend’s mission, and we know that when student parents and single mothers succeed, their families and communities succeed as well,” said David Croom, associate director of Ascend’s Postsecondary Success for Student Parents (PSP) initiative. “Community colleges are key to increasing student persistence and attainment, and we are proud to partner with Montgomery College, a member of Ascend’s Postsecondary Leadership Circle and a leading institution innovating its practices to ensure that student parents are primed for success.”

Since 2018, Ascend’s Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) initiative has been a key driver in building a student parent movement – an expansive, nationally-coordinated effort to advance the development of innovative solutions that provide greater postsecondary access, affordability, and success for parents. Ascend focuses on the more than four million student parents enrolled in postsecondary pathways – a group that should inform and strengthen higher education’s equity agenda. The Postsecondary Leadership Circle Activation Fund is central to this effort. Learn more about the Postsecondary Leadership Circle Activation Fund from Ascend at the Aspen Institute.

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