Point of Pride: Widener and Milton Hershey School Partner to Support Low-Income, First-Generation Students
Milton Hershey School and Widener University have entered a partnership that creates new opportunities for financially disadvantaged students who are the first in their families to pursue undergraduate degrees. The collaboration was outlined in a memorandum of understanding officials from both institutions signed on Friday, Nov. 16.
The goal is to provide low-income, first-generation college students with tools and resources to successfully navigate their educational journeys.
“We are committed to providing our graduates and first-generation college students with comprehensive support and guidance postgraduation,” said Milton Hershey School Vice President of Graduate Programs for Success Tanya Baynham. “Our latest partnership with Widener University is an important step in our mission to help our students break the cycle of poverty and achieve long-term success.”
“This agreement will provide strong advantages for Milton Hershey School alumni who choose Widener University,” Widener President Julie E. Wollman said. “The university is prepared to support these students through our many student-centered services, such as mentoring and coaching that will help put them on a path to success. They will be the priority of gifted professors who invest in their success through continual feedback, and they will get invaluable workplace experience through internships and co-ops.”
Milton Hershey School students who attend Widener University will receive focused and sustained support to ensure their success throughout their entire college experience. Support services include:
- Academic coaching through Widener’s Office of Student Success and Retention. This will include help with goal planning, time management and study skills, mentoring and referral to academic resources.
- Student engagement resources, including participation in the Widener 1821 pre-orientation experience designed for students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in exploring the importance of identity, diversity and pluralism in the university’s open, inclusive community. Widener will waive participation, room and board fees for this program for five incoming Milton Hershey School alumni annually.
- Retention support, including participation in the Pride Mentoring Program, which provides ongoing support, coaching and guidance through individual and group counseling, workshops and personal development activities.
Milton Hershey School’s Graduate Programs for Success (GPS) Division has partnered with more than 15 postsecondary institutions across the state of Pennsylvania. In addition to the individualized guidance offered at each institution, MHS career and higher education support specialists provide comprehensive support throughout the duration of college. In 2017, they organized a total of 123 on-campus postsecondary visits and sent 13,856 text messages with resources and words of encouragement.
The partnership with Widener University is part of Milton Hershey School’s ongoing commitment to strengthen its graduates’ postsecondary experiences and improve the national college graduation outcome for low-income students.