"We're really trying to get particularly young women to focus on their own graduation," said Dr. Ann Wairepo, the program's director. That is because thousands of Utah women start college, but less than half actually graduate.
Wairepo said, "We're always willing to say I'll put my husband through school, or I'm going to get a job and drop out." However, later on Wairepo believes that is a decision most women regret. "So many women believe that they will be able to come back, that at some point their life will get easier and my message is it's never as easy as it is right now."
To make the transition easier, The Women's Success Center provides life coaching, financial support, and even child care to up to three thousand students a year. That includes students of any age like Sharon Dauwalder. "My husband started to experience some real medical mayhems," she said.
That is why at 49-years-old, she finally started college. "It was awkward, but very doable," she said.
Dauwalder recently graduated and now she is supporting her family. "Graduating and moving on has put us in a better place to open doors to where I can achieve employment."
A message that Wairepo believes could put many women at ease during unexpected times of need. "You have to have options," she said.
Right now, the Women's Success Center is the only program of its kind in Utah. However, most universities offer resources and guidance to women and nontraditional students. For more information on the UVU's program click here.