The University Record, January 25, 1999

CEW oversees new fund for student-parents

By Kerry Colligan

The Center for the Education of Women (CEW) recently began offering stipends to student-parents needing assistance. The Margin of Difference Fund provides money for emergency medical needs, childcare, after-school programs, educational and other special needs of student-parents.

It may seem extravagant for CEW to use money from the fund to purchase a laptop computer for a single mother so she is able to be home with her infant while completing her studies. But for student-parents, these are the kinds of needs often not met by other funding sources, says Kathy Power, a former member of the CEW Leadership Council and co-creator of the fund with her husband Regent Emeritus Philip H. Power.

“There has to be some means to make sure that we take care of the child and the special needs of the student-parent,” Power says. “People with families ought to be encouraged to go back to school, but their families ought not suffer because of that decision.

“Our motivation in giving to the fund,” Power explains, “was to give returning students with children or families a resource. We recognize how difficult it is to try to juggle those responsibilities.”

Recognizing that need, according to CEW Director Carol Hollenshead, was visionary. “This was a leadership gift. Nobody was talking about financial aid for student-parents. It was only after the creation of the Margin of Difference Fund that the University stepped forward.”

The $50,000 fund—created three years ago largely through a gift from the Power Foundation—originally was intended to provide support for after-school care, but was expanded to include medical care, education and other special needs. CEW counselors recommend student-parents for fund assistance as a result of counseling sessions.

A special feature of the fund is that the amount and duration of the stipend varies for each case, Hollenshead says.

“These aren’t the kinds of needs you might plan for,” Hollenshead says. “You’re not going to apply for this assistance six months ahead of time.” Having the flexibility to tailor the stipend to the situation is critical to the success of the fund, she notes.

For more information about the Margin of Difference Fund, contact CEW, 998-7080.