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GCC’s New Family Economic Security Program Supports Students Facing Challenges


A new grant-funded program is providing critical wraparound services for low-income college students, building a customized support system to provide a smooth path through tough times.

Gateway Community College’s Family Economic Security Program (FESP) is tailored to the needs of low-income  students, offering career, financial, personal, and academic support for students through certificate and/or degree completion.  Participants benefit from one-on-one coaching, professional development workshops, scholarships, networking skills, and early course registration.  Cultural enrichment activities and campus family events are also coordinated to round out the experience. 

The Wells Fargo Foundation supported FESP with a $40,000 grant.  Helene Augustine, vice president and senior fiduciary relationship specialist for Wells Fargo, and Kevin Burke, Wells Fargo’s commercial banking market executive for Connecticut and New York, presented a check to GCC President Paul Broadie II to support the program. 

At the orientation, Helene Augustine, Gateway Community College Foundation board vice chair, greeted participants and said that she has high hopes for the success of the program and planned to be involved to celebrate students’ accomplishments.  Augustine noted that the financial services company provided the grant to support FESP because it places a high value on education. 

“This is a program that changes lives,” Dean of Development and Community Partnerships Mary Ellen Cody told participants. 

FESP Director Licella Arboleda welcomed the group and said that the program is designed to provide a support system, much like a family.  Arboleda introduced Counselor Dana Albert and Academic Advisor Kristina Kosnoff to the group, noting that the team is gearing up for an exciting semester, with cultural enrichment activities like trips to Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo planned.  This personal support is aimed to get the students through “to that finish line,” she said

Students in FESP must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA.  The 2018-2019 academic year concluded with 45 FESP participants.  One student told the group that FESP made a huge difference in her life.  When she enrolled last semester, she was grateful to have the electricity in her home restored when she couldn’t pay her bill. 

For more information on the FESP program visit:

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