Across the United States, only nine percent of students from low-income backgrounds earn a college degree by the age of 24. This is a statistic College Possible Philadelphia donors, Ken and Linda Romanowski, find problematic and hope to improve. Both Ken and Linda have experienced first-hand the power of earning a college degree, and their respective experiences with higher education drive their commitment to College Possible. Reflecting on his college experience, Ken states, “A college degree opens up doors in your future you don’t even realize are there.”
Beyond the opportunity a college degree affords, Ken and Linda credit their time in college with helping to shape them into the people they are today. “My college education has sustained me through my life,” notes Linda. “It wasn’t just the classes I took but the connections I made with the professors and the clubs I joined. Those things help to make you who you are.” Echoing that sentiment, Ken states, “My father taught me the reason you go to college is not to make money but to become a better person.” This insight from his father, his passion for learning, and frequently hearing about his father’s experiences at Saint Joseph’s University are what sparked Ken’s interest in pursuing his higher education. Ken ultimately went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in organization and management from Temple University.
Like Ken, Linda’s father taught her the importance of higher education. “My father never went to college, and I think it’s something he always regretted,” says Linda. “He always told me ‘I never got that piece of paper so you have to get that piece of paper.’” Linda earned dual bachelor degrees from Rosemont College in psychology and elementary education, becoming the first person in her family to graduate from college. Linda still carries her father’s words with her while currently pursuing her master’s degree in creative non-fiction from her alma mater.
Ken and Linda learned of College Possible Philadelphia through The Financial Planning Associations’ Foundation for Financial Planning. Ken worked as a financial advisor with The Vanguard Group when the organization approached him with an offer to speak to College Possible students about money management at Upper Darby High School. Ken notes, “It was a wonderful experience. I was so impressed by the energy of the students and the knowledge they already had. It went over so well that I was invited back two weeks later to continue the conversation. We’ve been supporters since.”
While their initial interest in the program came from their experience with the high school program, their commitment grew once they learned of College Possible’s support through college graduation. “While it’s good to get someone into college, it doesn’t matter if they don’t receive the necessary support and resources so that they can graduate,” says Ken. “That’s what makes this program so great,” adds Linda. “Students today are faced with so many obstacles and it’s fantastic that they have coaches who provide support throughout their entire educational journey. Not only do they provide educational support but also emotional and social support.”
The generous support of the Romanowskis helps to ensure more students in the greater Philadelphia area earn a college degree. Join the Romanowskis in making a difference today!
By Ian Reitz