Milton Hershey School, Lebanon Valley College Partner to Support First-Generation, Low-Income Students
The partnership will provide students with mentorships to improve graduation outcomes
On Thursday, April 5, Milton Hershey School and Lebanon Valley College signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at improving the national college graduation rates for low-income, first-generation college students.
“This partnership will provide our students with more individualized and sustained support,” MHS Vice President of Graduate Programs for Success Tanya Barton said. “As we work toward improving our college graduation rate, both MHS and LVC are combining efforts to ensure our graduates reach their goals.”
Nearly 25 percent of LVC’s undergraduates are first-generation—a higher percentage than at many other four-year colleges and universities. Through the agreement, MHS students will receive academic coaching, student engagement resources, and retention support to ensure student success throughout their college careers.
“Low-income and first-generation students do very well at LVC because of the close, personal guidance and strong academics our faculty and staff provide,” said Dr. Lewis E. Thayne, president of Lebanon Valley College. “We look forward to expanding our relationship with Milton Hershey School and helping even more students go on to get great jobs and lead great lives.”
In addition, LVC will offer a “first-gen” mentoring program. Students will receive guidance from faculty and staff, including those who were themselves first-gen students. After students complete the program, they will receive a $500 scholarship.
MHS career and higher education specialists support graduates through virtual check-ins and on-campus visits. In 2017, MHS staff organized 123 on-campus visits and sent 13,856 text messages to support graduates throughout their college experience.
The partnership is the eighth of its kind MHS has established with postsecondary institutions across the state to increase graduation outcomes for low-income, first-generation college students.