Phoenix College has established a partnership with Helping Hands for Single Moms (HHSM) to provide financial support for single mothers looking to graduate and enter nursing careers.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, a health insurance provider which has been a long-time partner and funding source for HHSM has also stepped in to contribute a large portion of the funds to be used for the scholarships.
College President Dr. Larry Johnson expressed how he felt personally connected to the cause when the partnership was being formed between Phoenix College and HHSM.
“My mom was a single parent, and it was critically important for me. When students are arriving at the community college…I can connect them and be a bridge to resources that can help them be successful,” he told FOX 10 Phoenix.
HHSM has generously awarded scholarships amounting to $6 million since 2002. The non-profit organization helped 171 mothers to graduate from Valley nursing programs last year and the program will help more struggling mothers to reach their potential and earn more for their families despite the many challenges they face.
“We know the affordability of attending college – there are so many barriers in terms of the cost of attendance. The resources that these students have received will help to remove many of those barriers that would have otherwise may have presented may be an impediment for them,” Johnson remarked.
Phoenix’s Enrollment Woes
Phoenix College has suffered a serious drop in enrollment due to the pandemic. More than 1,000 students did not return for the current semester as families continue to struggle with finances, family life, and remote learning.
Meanwhile, nationwide enrollment at community colleges has experienced a 10 percent drop from fall 2019 to fall 2020 according to National Student Clearinghouse data. Adults who attend community colleges are among those heavily impacted since many have become jobless or need to focus on other priorities such as their children’s schooling.
Angelica Larraga, a student in the college’s paralegal program, said the pandemic effectively ended her job as a traveling hairstylist because she couldn’t enter her clients’ homes. The past year has also become hectic because she needed to help her two sons, aged seven and ten, adjust to online classes.
Additional scholarships helped with Larraga’s tuition and books, but they still needed help from a local food bank due to a lack of money. With this in mind, the official partnership with HHSM can help not only the students but the college as well.