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STORIES is a support and retention program that caters to foster youths, homeless individuals and other independent students who are separated from family support due to severe circumstances, such as student refugees, students whose parents die suddenly, students whose parents are incarcerated and more.

In fall 2021, a new program called STORIES (STudents On the Rise In Education Success) is coming to Iowa State. STORIES is a support and retention program that caters to foster youths, homeless individuals and other independent students who are separated from family support due to severe circumstances, such as student refugees, students whose parents die suddenly, students whose parents are incarcerated and more.

This program is the first in Iowa to be brought up to support the students that need it the most, according to Laura Kilbride, student services specialist in human sciences student services.

"Foster youths complete college at a rate of 3 percent, which serves as evidence that this group does not have as much support as others,” Kilbride said.

Through STORIES, Iowa State hopes to leave no student left behind due to their situation and help them earn their degree.

“We expect the program to start small and build over the years,” Kilbride said. “A team of diverse units and departments across campus will meet twice a month to discuss the needs, challenges, successes and progress of the program.”

The team will include a faculty member, undergraduate student and graduate student representative to ensure all students are represented.

Kilbride will collaborate with high schools, community colleges, Youth and Shelter Services and other organizations that reach out to students in need. She said she wants to make sure these students are cared for and given opportunities like everyone else, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Iowa State encourages people to come get an education that can help them with their future, with the aid of STORIES. According to Iowa State, the program’s benefits include:

  • Instant community of your peers who can relate to you
  • Deferment of Iowa State application and acceptance fees
  • Connections to free tutoring options
  • Individualized emotional, academic and social support from program faculty and staff specializing in advocacy and student empowerment
  • One-on-one personalized coaching at a frequency of your choice
  • Faculty and/or upper-class mentor
  • Community workshops twice per month
  • Access to streamlined emergency resources and contacts on campus
  • Assistance connecting to community resources
  • Support in maintaining a close connection with county social service agencies to retain eligible benefit, including the Iowa Aftercare Services Network

With the benefits STORIES offers, students are encouraged to join Iowa State to further their education and build a great future for themselves. Access to their website can be found here.

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