University to participate in federal college ‘pipeline’

Amanda Stickles, Staff Writer

Wilkes is joining the federal government’s effort to increase opportunity for low-income families.

Wilkes has become the only higher education in northeast Pennsylvania to join the commitment to support the Pipeline to College Opportunity program announced on Jan. 16 at a White House summit and one of only eight in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Pipeline is an academic, programmatic and financial aid commitment for colleges and universities in the support of President Barack Obama’s initiatives to reduce barriers to higher education and increase college opportunity for low-income students.

Wilkes will be having a new fundraising event, the Founders Gala, in June that focuses raising scholarship money for low-income, first-generation college students. The focus will be to raise funds for the business and community leaders, alumni, and trustees to help financially needy, first-generation students complete college.

The goal for the event is to increase the number of financially needy students who want to enroll at Wilkes. The funds will also be used to expand and improve many of Wilkes’ existing programs that help first-generation and financially-needy students graduate on time.

“I think the founders dinner will be a great way to honor the traditions of Wilkes, begin new traditions (I.e. awarding the first President’s medal) while raising money for a special scholarship fund for students who are the first in their family to attend college,” Mike Wood, vice president of advancement said. “This fund provides students that qualify with additional financial support over and above any institutional merit or need based aid.”

Wilkes already has a strong history of programs supporting student success for first-generation students and focuses on forming close personal relationships between faculty and student, which is a strong building block in academic success.Wilkes has also been one of the oldest institutions in the United States since 1967 in sponsor of the program Upward Bound, which is a federal TRIO program dedicated to providing young people with the opportunity to succeed and prepare for college. Wilkes is also a part of the Act 101 program, which is a state program to support low in-come students in college.