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UW-Green Bay receives grant to aid students in accessing further education

Biology students
UW-Green Bay is an Open Access institution with 51% of its student body being first-generation students. Gail Sims-Aubert believes that the intersectionality between these two populations on campus is what makes the school a strong candidate for this grant/program. UW-Green Bay photo

By Eva Westein

Contributing Writer

GREEN BAY – UW-Green Bay has received a $50,000 grant from the University of Wisconsin System to provide one-on-one guidance and support to current and prospective students who have experience in foster care, homelessness or who have been orphaned or are wards of the state.

The funding from this grant will provide these students with access to a case manager, basic living amenities and emergency grants for unexpected expenses.

They will also be given the opportunity to participate in a monthly “family dinner” event featuring speakers to share information and advice that will further guide students toward attaining their degrees.

The program will be led by the dean of students office which will be working in close partnership with enrollment and admissions areas.

As a whole, this initiative will further help UW-Green Bay provide access to education for all who want to learn in an accessible and sustainable way.

“This falls within our mission to ensure that all of those who are seeking a college education can receive one. We don’t want people to feel that college is unattainable for them. And this is a population of students who typically are under-resourced, so now we have the resources that we can meet those needs and assist with not just engaging with them, but helping ensure that they have the resources to persist to graduation,” explained UW-Green Bay Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Gail Sims-Aubert.

Sims-Aubert, along with Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Jen Jones, are responsible for spearheading this initiative.

Their shared goal of lessening common barriers for students helped them recognize the need for this type of program on campus and motivated them to work towards providing the necessary resources and infrastructure.

For Jones, this project is all about helping students break a cycle and make an impact.

“I really want more students to get the benefit of higher education because I know that benefit is going to help them in the long run. It’s like a legacy thing. If students can obtain higher education, it’s going to make their family, their community, and their neighborhood better in the long run,” she said.

Jones also points out the long-term effects that this support can put into motion.

“Every student that we help who maybe wouldn’t have access to higher education without an emergency grant, without the support of a staff member who came alongside and says ‘I see you, I get you. You don’t have to tell me your story, I’m just going to help you through this,’ every person that happens for there’s this ripple effect to everybody else in their lives… that’s life-changing stuff.”

Both Jones and Sims-Aubert agree that spreading the word is the most important factor in seeing success from this initiative.

“We really need to create awareness that we can’t count these students out and we need to be having these conversations with foster youth early and often to help plant the seed that college is possible for them,” explained Sims-Aubert.

For more information, visit https://www.uwgb.edu/phoenix-cares/ or contact [email protected] or 920-465-2152.

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