Bourger Women with Children Program

The Women with Children Program (WWC) at Misericordia University is one of only eight programs in the United States. The Program empowers economically disadvantaged single mothers by providing the opportunity to complete a college degree, creating brighter futures for themselves and for their children. The pathway to college and the completion of a four year degree may seem impossible right now. Through our program the roadblocks to higher education are removed and the completion of a college degree becomes a reality.

For more information, please contact the Director, Katherine Pohlidal, at (570) 674-6728.

View our brochure here

Click here to download the application for the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women With Children Program

Our Mission: Mulier Fortis – Building on the Tradition of Valiant Women

The Women with Children Program invites you to participate in our mission of empowering single mothers through educational achievement and personal growth, working toward future professional success only a college degree can provide. Through the gift of free housing, financial assistance, access to quality child care and an array of social, academic and family enrichment programming, Women with Children provides a comprehensive response to the needs of our families. Our students arrive ready to accept the challenge, demonstrate the courage to dedicate themselves to their educational goals, and ultimately, depart from Misericordia University a college graduate, ready to make an impact as a valiant woman, a Mulier Fortis!

Our History

Misericordia University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924. All Sisters of Mercy worldwide trace their roots to their foundress, Catherine McAuley, an Irish Catholic laywoman who recognized the many needs of people who were economically poor in early nineteenth century Ireland. She opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland on September 24, 1827, a place to shelter and educate women and girls. On August 15, 1924, 50 years after arriving in the Wyoming Valley, the order recognized that a great need was still waiting to be met. The Sisters of Mercy established Luzerne County’s first four-year institution of higher learning, then College Misericordia. Today Misericordia University continues to exemplify the same charisms set forth by Catherine McAuley – core values of Mercy, Service, Justice and Hospitality.

Sr. Jean Messaros, a Sister of Mercy and Vice President of Mission Integration, brought the tradition of empowering women through education and alleviating the barriers of poverty to the forefront in 2000 by establishing the Women with Children Program at Misericordia University. The Women with Children Program continues the mission of empowering the underserved by assisting single women and their children realize their full potential through higher education.

The Women with Children Program

The Women with Children Program is situated within three homes on the University’s lower campus. As a gift from the Program, each family receives housing 12 months of the year for up to four years. Housing arrangements include 2 bedrooms for each family. Families share common living areas including kitchen and dining area, living room, playroom, laundry facilities, and study room. Safety and security is a priority and each home is equipped with card access only entries, child safe playground areas and a child safe perimeter fence. The current capacity of the program is 16 families. Space availability varies by semester and when at full capacity, students can request to be placed on a waiting list for the program.

Child Care

Mothers are assisted by our Coordinator in making arrangements for child care while they are in class. Women in the program are provided with information on state certified day care centers and eligibility requirements for child-care subsidies through Luzerne County. The University also offers a 40% subsidy for child care to eligible families. School age children may attend the Dallas Area School District, with a convenient bus stop in front of the Program’s Rasmussen Hall.

Programming and Family Enrichment

Extensive family enrichment programming is offered throughout the year for mothers and children alike. Mothers will receive support through individual goal planning, academic support and tutoring, career services, on-campus counseling, parenting and informational workshops. Mothers are given priority placement for on-campus work study opportunities and assistance with internship placements. Children are offered the opportunity to pursue extra-curricular activities including sports camps, summer camps, swimming lessons, a children’s garden and library and involvement in the Kids on Campus program during the school year. Numerous family events are offered both on and off campus including cultural events, the arts and children’s shows.

Financial Aid

Each student in the Women with Children Program will be reviewed for eligibility for loans, traditional grants and scholarships through the Office of Financial Aid. Every woman and child is given free housing.

Requirements of the Program

  • Students must be applying for undergraduate admission only
  • Transfer students are eligible for the program for completion of a first time, four year undergraduate degree
  • Students must maintain full time student status ( 12 credit hours) to remain eligible
  • Only single mothers with up to 3 children are eligible
  • Children must be between the ages of 2 years to 8 years upon mother’s admission into the program
  • All students must have a reliable car

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying to the Women with Children Program, please contact the Office of Admissions toll free at (866) 262-6363. The first step is to apply to Misericordia University for Full Time Undergraduate Admission. Upon acceptance to Misericordia University, you are then eligible to apply to the Women with Children Program. The application can be found on our website along with further information on our program.

Qualified applicants that submit a completed application will be reviewed by our board and if approved, invited to participate in an on campus interview with the Women with Children staff. Following a first interview, and upon review, applicants will be invited to participate in a second interview which will conclude with a tour of the homes and meeting with the women and children currently in the program.

Applicants are notified of their status with the program following the completion of the interview process.

We Look Forward to Hearing From You!

Women with Children Staff

Katherine Pohlidal, Director

Katherine Pohlidal, Director
Mercy Hall
301 Lake Street
Dallas, PA 18612
Office Line: 570-674-6728

Sister Jean Messaros, Vice President for Mission Integration
Sister Jean Messaros, Vice-President of Mission Integration
Mercy Hall
301 Lake Street
Dallas, PA 18612
Office Line: 570-674-6320

Sandy Johnson

Sandy Johnson, Coordinator
Mercy Hall
301 Lake Street
Dallas, PA 18612
Office Line: 570-674-3320

Kim Caffrey, Executive Assistant
Mercy Hall
301 Lake Street
Dallas, PA 18612

Student-Driven Philanthropy Project

A student-driven philanthropy project aims to leave a lasting legacy for the Women With Children program at Misericordia University.

See the full WBRE news package here.

Geraldine Ruth Daley Anderson Bell Tower

News List

Misericordia University hosted an interactive virtual faculty panel on Thursday April 30 to discuss COVID-19 and the wide-ranging impact this virus is having on our society.
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