Ready to Blossom?  The Self-Sufficiency Program is your first step.SSP Flyer

Start date for Spring Semester is Jan. 28th!
6 PM, in room 4309, Centennial Hall.
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The purpose of the Self-Sufficiency Program is to extend the availability of higher education to low-income parents by preparing them to be successful college students. 

If you are thinking about college and you need some direction & support, contact SSP! We have strategies, answers & encouragement!

“The program helped me to change my thought process. I have gone from thinking that I couldn’t do well to knowing I can do anything I set my mind to do…More women need these programs in order to believe in themselves and prove they are capable of going as far as their dreams and beyond.”

-Libia Aguilar, SSP Graduate & Lawyer

The Program:

SSP is a free, one-semester program that offers participants an opportunity to discover their academic and career potential. The class meets 1-2 evenings per week in La Crosse during the Fall and Spring semester. Free childcare is available on-site during every class.

The SSP course is designed to accomplish three goals:

  • Familiarize students with college application and admissions procedures, financial aid, and scholarship opportunities
  • Engage the class in weekly critical thinking, writing, reading and math skills—in essence, we “practice” college level work in a supportive and encouraging environment.
  • Customize a personal educational plan that considers each student’s learning and career goals to reach the highest level of success possible.

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Applying to SSP

Applicants must have either a high school diploma, a GED, HSED, and may have some college credits as long as they haSSP Logove not completed a bachelor’s degree.

Applicants must be self-designated as low-income; if an Associates or Bachelor’s degree would increase your current salary, you qualify. No financial information is collected in the application process.

Although the program serves primarily parents, applicants without children are also considered for admission.

SSP has a rolling admission process. We accept applications all year, but admit students to either the September or January class.

Apply online, download our printable Microsoft Word application form or email Andrea Hansen at to receive an application in the mail. 

SSP Graduates

SSP Graduate in cap and gownMost SSP graduates attend UW-La Crosse, Viterbo University, or Western Technical College and many carry a B or better grade point average. The example set by student-parents often results in their children’s increased success in school and community activities.

Since 1988, students who completed our program and attended college have degrees and careers in many fields: nursing, education, law, medicine, art, administration, psychology and social work. Many of them live in the community and continue to support as well as benefit from their SSP connection.

SSP graduates also qualify for our Locally Grown Scholarship, a cash scholarship for our students who are in their first four semesters of college, as long as they remain in good academic standing.

Applying by Mail or Phone

If you have access to a printer, you can download the application here (opens as a Microsoft Word file).

If you would like to receive an application by mail, please send or call us with the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Daytime Phone Number
  • How did you hear about SSP?

Contact Information:

SSP needs (Andrea Hansen, Director)
UW-La Crosse, 4306 Centennial Hall
1725 State Street
La Crosse WI 54601

The SSP is an outreach program of the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

SSP Policy of Non-Discrimination

The Self-Sufficiency Program administrators and the SSP Locally Grown Scholarship Fund committee are committed to a policy of providing equal opportunity to all qualified persons regardless of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, political affiliation, physical disability, mental disability, veterans status, or membership in the national guard, state defense force or any other reserve component of the military forces of the United States or this state.