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Milwaukee Women's College Opens On-Campus Housing For Single Mothers

Mount Mary University officially opened their apartment doors in the Spring of 2022 to the university's single undergraduate students and their young children. Trinity Woods offers support to full-time student mothers by providing an array of services, including an on-site child care center.

These apartments aren't just for undergraduate students. Trinity Woods is a partnership between Mount Mary, the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND), and Milwaukee Catholic Home. This intergenerational housing community includes school sisters, local seniors, graduate students, single mothers, and young children together in one commonplace.

The student floors are for mothers and one or two children ages six weeks to 11 years.

“If we had all of them (student apartments) filled with single moms, that would be great," Andrea Kurtz, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Mount Mary University, said.

Kurtz is one of the main contacts for prospective Trinity Woods students, also helping with the promotion of Trinity Woods.

“If we had all of them filled with single moms, that would be great."

While single undergraduate mothers are the first priority for housing, Trinity Woods also has options for graduate students, with or without children. If male graduate students are in need of housing, there is availability at The Mary John Place apartments on-campus.

The Trinity Woods apartments include a fully furnished two-bedroom apartment, meal plans, water, heat, electricity, parking, and free laundry machines on each floor.

"This is a convenient option that is very student-focused. There are little details we've thought of, like children's reading nooks in Trinity Woods and easy access to lots of things on campus. We've really tried to make it easy, accessible and convenient with student success in mind,” Kurtz said.

Students living in Trinity Woods are assigned a family success advisor to help them overcome obstacles from daycare options to COVID-19 quarantine accommodations.

“Out of the student success advisors, the family success advisor is the one specifically helping students with children,'' Amy Dedow, COVID-19 response coordinator and family success advisor, said. “This is a new position as of July, and I help students interested in Trinity Woods, and support students with children who have questions.”

Unlike traditional residence hall living, Trinity Woods provides year-round housing and students don't need to leave their apartment during holiday breaks or summer vacations. The single-parent units are near the Childhood Education Center on the Mount Mary campus to accommodate Trinity Woods children.

"Having easy access to the Early Childhood Education Center offered by Wauwatosa Daycare is going to be very valuable for these students. They will be renting a space in our building for up to 100 children. This is not limited to Mount Mary students, but the first priority will be for students in Trinity Woods," Kurtz said.

Wauwatosa Daycare is five-star-rated and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Mothers can place their children at this daycare center during their daytime classes.

"Statistics told us that 6% of our undergrad students were parents, and so there is a bit of a niche that needs housing, and there has been a lot of interest," Kurtz said.

The housing addresses a need to help women complete their degrees and the president of Mount Mary, Christine Pharr, Ph.D. played a large role in this initiative after coming to Mount Mary from the College of St. Mary's, which provided similar housing options.

"Providing safe, affordable housing for students who are single mothers and their children is a testament to the transformative power of a Mount Mary education," Dr.Pharr said on the Mount Mary website promoting the facility.

To officially qualify, single undergraduate mothers will need to apply for housing, complete an interview, and have a meeting with the Financial Aid Office to talk about costs and aid.

“The interview is more or less to make sure it's a good fit for the student and that we're not bringing in anyone that isn't going to be a good fit in a community environment. We want them to enjoy where they live and know what to expect," Kurtz said.

Ideally, a student would sign a full-year lease. The costs are approximately $1,200 per month and billed into fall, spring, and summer terms. Unlike typical apartments, financial aid can be applied to housing in Trinity Woods. The development office has also done a lot of fundraising specifically for these students, so they also have additional funds to award, which are need-based like most financial aid.

If you or someone you know is a single mother seeking full-time education and housing accommodations in the Milwaukee area, consider reviewing the Trinity Woods website for more information on Mount Mary University’s offerings.


About the Author

Jeana Prudhomme

Jeana Prudhomme is a Communications professional, as well as the Founder and Editor of Respect Your Mother Magazine. She received B.A in Communications from Alverno College in 2017, and a M.A in New Media and Professional Writing in the Spring of 2022. After years of focusing on solutions journalism and non-fiction writing related to feminism and sustainability, she has created art from her passions in the form of this ecofeminist magazine.

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