Prosperity Center, State Partner to Help Students Succeed

Friday, November 13, 2020
Students in a lab

It can be hard for college students to leave their non-academic struggles at the classroom door, especially in a time of greater uncertainty or stress with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It is with that in mind that this month Rockhurst University became one of seven college campuses in the state piloting a program from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development and the Missouri Department of Social Services aimed at helping connect students (as well as faculty and staff) to the resources they need to be successful.

The effort has a natural partner at Rockhurst in the Prosperity Center for Financial Opportunity. Established in 2013, the center offers community members services free of charge in three areas — education and coaching for both personal finances and employment and access to income support services. According to Tiffany Vincent, the center’s program director, working in coordination with DSS bolsters the reach of that last area, with an onsite representative offering one-on-one virtual meetings with campus clients to assist with access to programs available through the state, including health care programs such as Medicaid, public assistance such as the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), child welfare services and even energy assistance.

She said a growing number of students at Rockhurst have existing financial needs or are working adults — in other words, the student body faces many of the same challenges as the center’s community clients.

“When they are lost and experiencing financial hardship, they look to us for guidance in the right direction,” Vincent said. “The Prosperity Center is actively working to make sure that as an institution, Rockhurst University knows where to direct students when facing non-academic barriers before it's too late.”

In a period of continued uncertainty and stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic, having an additional avenue for assistance means more ways to keep students on track as they work to achieve educational goals.

“These situations directly affect academic performance and attendance, causing students to fall behind, fail classes, or even worse, drop out of school,” Vincent said. “These supports will mean that students can focus on continuing their education and graduating.” 

Students, faculty and staff can sign up for a meeting with the DSS representative here or through the University’s web portal. Visit the Prosperity Center’s website for more information on available services.