Establishing a fund for pregnant and parenting students is a project that will directly and immediately aid pregnant and parenting students. It also brings together a large group of individuals who will be instrumental in making this vision a reality. The mission of the Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance Fund is to provide financial aid so that students facing the unexpected challenges of pregnancy and parenting can stay on track toward earning a degree. What must be remembered is that the fund does not necessarily depend on the amount of money involved. Rather, what is important is to have this resource, well-advertised and promoted, so that pregnant and parenting students know there is support and resources on campus. Depending on the environment on your campus, you may be inclined to call this a Scholarship. However, often administrators will view a scholarship for a pregnant or parenting student as a reward for an improper action. Therefore, a fund is a better name in order to avoid that debate.
The point is not to reward or condone the improper actions that resulted in a pregnancy, but rather to provide the necessary assistance and resources to students in this situation, who often feel forced to choose between their education or their child.
The steps below are modeled after the St. Louis University Pregnant and Parenting Student Assistance Fund. They have had immense success establishing a fund and have become a model example for other campus pro-life groups to follow**
- Identify pregnant and parenting students who will be in need of financial help
- Identifying students who will need financial aid during their pregnancy and beyond will help convince administration that starting a fund will significantly aid students.
- These relationships can provide knowledge and potential allies for advocacy further down the road.
- Discuss the creation of a fund with proper authorities
- Schedule a meeting with a representative from the Development Office, Residential/Student Life offices, and Financial Aid office.
- They will help counsel you on the specific process for creating an endowment fund on your campus.
- It is highly possible that they will be supportive of a fund for pregnant and parenting students, especially if students are willing to raise the funds.
- Create an Assistance Fund Committee
- This committee will act as an Advisory Board on how to proceed with the process and will oversee the fund for years to come. It will also direct all fundraising efforts.
- The committee should be comprised of representatives from Resident Life, Financial Aid, and the student body. A faculty or staff advisor should also be included.
- Create a Disbursement Committee
- In order to ensure that the Assistance Fund Committee is able to focus on fundraising and promotion, it is important to create a separate committee.
- The Disbursement Committee is responsible for reviewing each application and deciding the appropriate amount of assistance that can be granted.
- The committee should be comprised of students representatives as well as financial aid/development office representatives.
- Create a website, brochures, and an email account
- This will allow you to advertise the mission of the fund to students as well as to potential donors.
- A website will give this project a professional touch and allow input from members of the general student body.
- One of the roles of the committee should be to direct all fundraising efforts. The committee should focus on identifying and organizing fundraising efforts, not single handedly carrying out all fundraising efforts.
- Set an ambitious, yet achievable goal on the money you want to raise within a year.
- A brochure should be created to present to potential donors.
- Some possible fundraising approaches include:
- Soliciting direct funds – Establishment of online giving, naming rights, and different levels of giving
- Student group fundraising – Walk/Run for life, car washes, speaking at parishes, etc
- Collaborative fundraising – Working with other groups who share a common goal. Student health center, Campus Ministry, women’s groups on campus can aid you.
- Grants – Grants are sometimes difficult to obtain as they are rarely given to projects or groups just starting up. Yet, this is a great way to establish relationships and ask other groups to join your initiative.
- For more fundraising help, visit college.studentsforlife.org/group-funding
- Create an application for the financial aid
- This process for how one should go about applying for the aid will be different for each school.
- A financial aid representative can guide your committee through this process.
- A sample application used at St Louis University can be found below.*
- Appoint a Student Advocate/Counselor
- This person will become an advisor to the student asking for financial aid. The person can be a staff member, faculty, or trusted member of the University.
- The role of the Student Advocate is to meet one on one with each applicant once the student has submitted their application online. The purpose of the one on one meeting is so the Student Advocate can learn about the student’s circumstances. Then the Advocate presents the student’s case to the Disbursement Committee.
- The Disbursement Committee then makes a decision on whether or not to assist the student financially.
- Advertise your newly created Fund
- This can be done through flyers, brochures, website, and word of mouth.
- Creating a fund will generate coverage on your campus because of its’ uniqueness and mission in helping pregnant and parenting students.
Creating and establishing a fund for pregnant and parenting students can take a few years to complete. However, this will leave a significant mark on your campus, and this is a project that can and should involve many groups, organizations, and individuals. Contact our SFLA team so that we can support you and guide you through this effort!
Sample Application for Financial Aid
The application for the scholarship is quite extensive, yet this is necessary in order to gather information about other potential assistance needs so that you can make positive referrals to other agencies.
- Student goes to the online inquiry form by referral or a self-search.
- When the inquiry form is submitted, the student advocate or counselor receives an instant email notification.
- The advocate contacts the student and arranges an appointment for a 1 on 1 intake.
- During the intake, the advocate assesses various needs, counsels, makes referrals, and gives the student the application for funding, if funds are available.
- If the application is submitted, the advocate brings it to the Disbursement committee that decides how much financial aid can be provided.
- If the application is not submitted, the advocate offers a follow up call or email to remind student of available resources.
- If a grant is awarded, the Disbursement committee contacts the student and make arrangements for aid to be applied to balances, rent, child care costs, etc.
- Student inquirers remain on a mailing list that receives updates for resources that become available (support groups, student baby sitters, diapers/clothing/formula, etc.)
**Click to find out more information about the Assistance Fund at St. Louis University**