After two years of collaborating with College Possible Philadelphia at the Explore partner level, Millersville University decided to deepen its relationship and become a Bridge partner in the summer of 2018. Commenting on the new level of partnership, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Katy Charles states, “Millersville aims to admit and enroll students who will bring a diverse mix of talent, experience and perspectives to our campus community. College Possible Philadelphia helps us to reach students who will do just that.” As a result of this deepened partnership, Millersville has been able to provide additional resources to College Possible students including staff presentations to students and their coaches about what opportunities that university offers and providing transportation to campus.
One of 14 universities that make up Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Millersville prides itself on providing students with high-quality educational opportunities that are both accessible and affordable. Maintaining the integrity of Millersville’s mission is becoming more increasingly difficult to fulfill says Katy. “Across many public institutions of higher education, as operating costs increase and state appropriations decrease, the mission becomes more and more challenging.”
Despite the rising cost of college, Millersville is committed to making accessibility a priority for applicants. Admissions staff recognize first-generation and students from low-income backgrounds are faced with a unique set of challenges that can hinder the college process. “When students do not have access to people or resources to help guide them through the process, steps to get from application to enrollment turn into barriers,” says Katy. Reducing those barriers has been a priority for the university and resulted in several initiatives to even the playing field for students. Among those initiatives are instant decision programs that provide students with a free application and an admissions decision on-site, bus visits and programming to make the campus accessible, and forming partnerships with programs like College Possible.
Millersville’s commitment to reducing barriers does not stop at the admissions process. When a student matriculates into Millersville, the university focuses on providing that student with the tools and resources needed to be successful. “We are proud of our Millersville Scholars Program, which provides opportunities for engagement, academic enrichment and a variety of support services to cohorts of students who show academic potential, but are first-generation or from underserved backgrounds,” says Katy. Participants in the Scholars Program receive support through graduation.
The culture of Millersville and their programs aimed at reducing barriers for students from first-generation and low-income backgrounds is what make them such a valuable partner of College Possible. Through this strengthened partnership, both College Possible and Millersville look forward to working hand in hand to close the degree divide and produce more college graduates.