BY Ryan McDougall | October 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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New fund launched to help pregnant university students combat financial pressures

Pro-life charity SPUC Scotland has launched an initiative to help pregnant women continue to pursue their academic and personal goals at university.

SPUC’s newly launched Alma Mater fund will provide financial grants to pregnant university students in Scotland to combat financial pressures that may otherwise cause them to quit their education.

The project coordinator will also help the students to find other support and resources from their universities and the government.

It is hoped that the initiative will reduce the number of students having abortions.

Mother’s needs

Margaret Akers, campaign research officer for SPUC, said women involved will be given funds to be used for ‘anything she needs—whether it be maternity clothes, a pram, or nursery furniture.’

The initiative was launched at Glasgow University’s Turnbull Hall on Thursday September 26.

Mrs Akers said the fund will allow many women to pursue their dreams, despite a ‘lack of support’ at universities.

She said: “Because of a lack of support, many women don’t think it will be possible to be a parent and finish their degree. Lack of resources, but also lack of help from their universities, is a major problem.

“Many will feel pressured to either leave university or have a termination. The Alma Mater fund is hoping to empower them, to show them that it is possible to do both.”

Funding

The sum granted to students will be decided on an individual’s basis, depending on their situation.

Most university students are aged 18-24, the age demographic most likely to have a termination.

Mrs Akers said: “So much of the culture of university life can be unfriendly to pregnancy and parenting.

“Because of this, many students who find themselves pregnant will feel they have no choice but to have a termination, even though it’s not what they want.”

Louise Grant, director of youth development for SPUC, said the Alma Mater Fund has already received ‘an incredible response’ on social media, adding they have had ‘many messages of support’ from women who were pregnant while studying at university.

Student support

Nadine Formosa, a student of Glasgow University, attended the launch, and has pledged to promote it on campus.

She is hopeful the funding will make women at university less likely to have an abortion, and that the fund is a ‘stepping stone’ in making universities better places for pregnant and parenting students.

She added: “Universities have policies to ensure that pregnant and parenting students get time off to accommodate for medical appointments and having the baby, however there are many other aspects in which university resources are either limited or not well advertised.

“Some universities offer fantastic support, but few people know where to find the information or who to contact.

“The Alma Mater Fund is there to help with this. I would love to see universities making their campus environments more accessible to pregnant and parenting students alike.”

Difficulties

Ms Formosa added: “The Alma Mater Fund understands that there are many difficulties with being pregnant at university, and they are there to help pregnant students feel empowered to choose life and complete their education.

“As a society, we need to stop implying that women are unable to do both—mothers are strong enough to carry, give birth to and raise their children whilst pursuing their academic goals.”

To contact the Alma Mater Fund, call 07849 088244, or text on WhatsApp, email: almamaterfund@gmail.com or visit:www.facebook.com/almamaterfund

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