Single mothers attending Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, a Catholic university, will soon be provided with resources to help them graduate. By September 2021, the school plans to have built a community for both retired sisters and single mothers attending the school.
With plans to break ground in July, the community will include 52 private residences for the retired sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, 90 independent living residences for seniors from the community, and 24 small apartments for Mount Mary University undergraduate single mothers and their children. The plan also includes either a child daycare for up to 100 children or an early childhood development center. Each building, according to Aleteia, will be connected by a Town Center that will feature areas allowing for individuals to connect for conversation, prayer, socialization, and dining.
Single mothers “face a lot of obstacles, including the cost of an education, transportation, child care, and simply having the resources to get all of those needs met,” Mount Mary President Christine Pharr said. “So this seemed like a perfect way to bring the sisters together with a demographic of students in the Milwaukee area that could benefit tremendously from having the support and resources a program like this could offer.”
According to Pharr, despite the fact that up to 20 percent of students at Mount Mary are parents, there is currently no on-campus child care available. She stated that offering these resources would not only be good for parenting students but “could incentivize more single mothers living in the Milwaukee area to earn a college degree.” It could also help the university, which is facing a decline in enrollment.
Title IX requires that colleges let pregnant students remain in the dorms, but when the child is born, the new parent is expected to find alternative housing. Students for Life of America calls this “an undue burden” because adequate housing is often expensive and maternity housing can be far from campus.
The new facility will be managed by Milwaukee Catholic Home and is expected to cost $40 million. Funding is said to be covered by Milwaukee Catholic Home, Mount Mary University, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Fundraisers will also help cover costs.
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