New grant will help support UK students transitioning from foster care to college

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- A new grant will help students who are transitioning from foster care to life as a student at the University of Kentucky.

UK’s Women & Philanthropy Network has funded a nearly $50,000 grant for the program, “First Generation Students: Meeting Their Basic Needs.

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It’s part of UK’s Student Support Services (SSS) and will also help students with young children.

“We currently work with some students who fall in both those categories, and realized we were limited in how we could address their needs,” said Lydia Wims, director of SSS. “Many of the students transitioning have no clue how to navigate college, or how to seek help that a parent would typically provide, like medical, food, rent or even child care. These students feel lost on how to navigate college even more so than traditional first generation students.”

Wims says the grant will help students find community and connection with staff members and those with similar experiences.

“This grant will provide much needed resources for things like health insurance, eyeglasses, emergency housing for breaks, food insecurity, and child care assistance, if necessary,” Wims said. “So many young students come to the university unaware of how to access these basic needs for their life, much of which is generally provided by the parents of a typical college student.”

SSS is part of UK’s Office for Institutional Diversity. It supports low-income and first generation students plus those with documented disabilities. It offers not only tutoring and advising, but also a sense of community and family.

The UK Women & Philanthropy Network also recently awarded $227,250 to six academic initiatives at UK, bringing the group’s lifetime grants to more than $2.2 million.

The group was created in 2007 to encourage women to be leaders, donors, and advocates for UK.