Ascend Grant to Help Stillman Support Student Parents

Stillman is one of eight selected institutions from across the country that will participate in a new fund launched by Ascend at the Aspen Institute

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Stillman College has joined a cohort of eight HBCUs and Tribal Colleges and Universities selected to partner with the Black and Native Futures Fund, a new capacity-building fund to provide financial support to student parents.

The Black and Natives Future Fund will provide $75,000 to Stillman to provide flexible class formats, customized support, student skills development, and emergency aid, while engaging faculty on family-friendly syllabi and classroom policies. A Student Parent Success Counselor will be designated to provide customized academic coaching to student parents, with workshops on topics such as academic planning, time management, and self-empowerment.

“Stillman is grateful for the Ascend grant from the Aspen Institute,” said Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Stillman College president. “These funds will help us develop a program targeted and tailored to the more than 100 student parents that call Stillman home.”

Since 2018, Ascend’s Postsecondary Success for Parents initiative has built a foundation for a national student parent movement. As it expands and deepens its work to achieve change for student parents, Ascend aims to establish an imperative to increase attainment rates for parents in postsecondary systems, through use of solutions that are parent-informed, have potential to scale, and will lead to high-quality learning and family well-being. The Black and Native Family Futures Fund is central to this effort.

Nationally, one in five college students – close to 4 million – is a parent. More than half are students of color, with Black and Native students among the most likely to be balancing school and parenting than other groups of students. With institutional cultures that are rooted in family, community, and holistic supports – key elements of a supportive campus for student parents – HBCUs and TCUs are uniquely positioned to identify and address the needs of Black and Native student parents.That is why Ascend, with support from Lumina Foundation and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, created the Black and Native Family Futures Fund.

“Supporting institutional change is a central focus of our expanded work to transform higher education with student parent success in mind,” said David Croom, associate director of Postsecondary Success for Parents at Ascend. “HBCUs and TCUs have long done more with less in supporting their student parents and this Fund aims to infuse resources and support into their efforts. The eight institutions partnering with us for the launch of this Fund are committed to the success of their students and we are excited to learn alongside them.”