Family Economic Mobility Toolkit

Pursuing College and Higher Education

Families may be interested in pursuing higher education to get them closer to their career goals. Staff can support families in planning for, applying to, and completing college.

Ideas for Action

1. Identify education needs and benefits.

Staff can encourage families to consider higher education options and set education goals. Staff can also provide resources to learn more about career pathways, education options and have discussions with families about the benefits of additional education.

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Start the Conversation

  • “How might continuing your education help you achieve your long-term goals or dreams?”

“How will you decide which school to attend? What is important to you?”

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2. Discuss how returning to school will impact a family’s life.

Staff can have conversations with families about how pursuing college will impact their life, their schedule, and their finances. Staff can also discuss with families the unique challenges and benefits of being a student parent.

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  • "How do you feel about returning to school?”
  • “What will change? What kind of support will you need?”

3. Apply to schools, complete the FAFSA®, and apply for scholarships and grants.

Staff can support families in the application process, including understanding the timeline to complete and submit applications. Staff can provide resources about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other opportunities to support families in paying for their education.

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Start the Conversation

  • "What do you need to do before submitting your applications?”
  • “How are you planning to pay for courses? What types of resources are you looking for?”

4. Identify supports at school and elsewhere.

Staff can help families research the supports offered by their school for student parents. Staff can check-in with families regularly about how classes are going.

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Start the Conversation

  • “What kind of a community are you looking for at school?”
  • “How can I support you in your journey to your degree?”
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Collaborate with local community colleges.

Many community colleges and four-year institutions have an office of student support. Reach out to these offices to set up a conversation about the interests and needs of parents in your program. If there is mutual interest, you may want to set up a partnership with offices that support students. You can communicate regularly with your contacts in these offices to continue to build your partnership.

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Learn More with These Resources