Wilkes University and Milton Hershey School Partner To Improve Graduation Rates Among First-Generation Students
Wilkes University and Milton Hershey School have partnered to improve retention and graduation rates among low-income, first-generation college students. Under a new agreement, qualified students from Milton Hershey School are guaranteed a spot in the University’s Educational Gateway to Excellence program, WilkesEDGE, which aids students in their transition from high school to college.
Anne Skleder, Wilkes provost and senior vice president, and Tanya Baynham, Milton Hershey School vice president of graduate programs for success, signed the agreement on Oct. 3 at Milton Hershey School. It formalizes the relationship between the institutions, streamlining the admission process for any interested students, including those qualified for the Wilkes honors program.
“Wilkes University has a long history of educating students from Milton Hershey School. It is the success of these students that inspired a more formalized partnership that honors our tradition of supporting first-generation college students,” said Skleder.
As part of the agreement, Wilkes will reserve a minimum of 10 spots in WilkesEDGE for students from Milton Hershey School.
Introduced in 2017, WilkesEDGE supports the transition from high school to college. Fewer courses during the first semester, combined with increased advisement and support services, create a pathway to a bachelor’s degree. Program mentors and academic advisors work with qualified students on their class schedule, dedicated study time and specific support services including personal financial aid counseling and campus employment, which is proven to help the transition to campus life.
Support services continue into the second semester, when a personalized learning plan is designed to accommodate each student’s academic progress as their course load grows. Personnel from Milton Hershey School’s Graduate Programs for Success Division also support students once at Wilkes.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Wilkes University so our graduates have the necessary resources to reach their goals,” said Baynham. “This partnership combined with our existing Graduate Programs for Success Division adds another layer of support to offer our students.”
Milton Hershey School’s Graduate Programs for Success Division provides students and alumni with a multi-tiered system of support that addresses their individual needs while fostering independence. Through the Graduate Programs for Success Division, dedicated career counselors, teachers and transition specialists support students and alumni of all ages beginning in middle school and continuing to their time in college, technical programs, the workforce or the military.
Pictured from left to right are Anne Skleder, Wilkes provost and senior vice president, and Tanya Baynham, Milton Hershey School vice president of graduate programs for success.
About Milton Hershey School:
Milton Hershey School® is one of the world’s best private schools, offering a top-notch education and positive home life to children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade from families of lower income at no charge.