When students and their family members pursue higher education together, they can “lean on each other and draw on each other” for support, said Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College. That’s one of the reasons that some institutions and organizations are providing multigenerational approaches to college access. Recent admissions initiatives and scholarships, such as HOPE Toledo and HOPE Chicago, are designed to bring students and family members to college as a way to improve college completion rates and lift entire families out of poverty.
“To have a multigenerational impact, you need to do a multigenerational program,” the Reverend John Jones, president and CEO of HOPE Toledo, told Inside Higher Ed. “Education is the civil rights issue of our era … We’re hopeful that this creates a sea change across the industry, because we know how critical it is for that to happen.”
Initial feedback on such programs is promising. Yet, serving two distinctly different populations comes with some logistical challenges, according to Janice Jackson, chief executive director of HOPE Chicago. “We’re bringing together hundreds of people at different points in their life, at different points in their education career,” she said. “Of course the colleges that they’re going to offer support for adult learners and students, but we want to try to replicate the wraparound supports that students get from a high school counselor, or just an individual helping you make a decision about what pathway is best for you, and, more importantly, navigating whatever that application process looks like.”
Read more about these multigenerational programs here.