The Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts Establishes Textbook Lending Library at Housatonic Community College

The Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts establishes a Textbook Lending Library for low-income students at Housatonic Community College. (contributed photo)

Helping low-income, high-need students seeking higher education and vocational learning.

BRIDGEPORT, CT – Housatonic Community College (HCC) is easing the burden of textbook costs for low-income students thanks to a grant from The Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts (SFFEA) for the creation of a new Textbook Lending Library.

The Textbook Lending Library will help HCC students obtain required textbooks for Continuing Education courses in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)–materials that students would otherwise find cost-prohibitive. Students pursuing these courses such as medical coding, human anatomy, and biology, and STEM pathway certificates are ineligible for financial aid. Paying out-of-pocket presents numerous challenges for low-income students seeking the education and skills to obtain better-paying jobs and a career path. The majority of HCC’s student body are low-income and often juggle school, multiple jobs, and family obligations. While higher education is a path to break the cycle of poverty, the number of students facing financial stress is astounding.

“The new Textbook Lending Library will help deserving, financially struggling HCC students who are striving to obtain an education and a brighter career path. This new important resource will prevent students from choosing between buying textbooks and paying for basic necessities such as food and rent. One more obstacle to improving their futures will be removed,” said Kristy Jelenik, Executive Director of the Housatonic Community College Foundation.

Having immediate access to course materials on the first day of class will be a new experience for many students eligible for the initiatives. With textbook costs ranging from $45 to over $500, low-income students often must save for required materials, or wait weeks to receive financial aid refunds in order to afford them. This delay puts students at a disadvantage, often preventing them from reaching their full potential.

“If we want our students to thrive, they must have access to course materials. We are grateful to The Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts for making the Textbook Lending Library possible, and for empowering our students to begin class prepared to succeed,” said Dr. Dwayne Smith, CEO of Housatonic Community College.

“HCC identified the need to support students in continuing education programs that do not have access to financial aid. The Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts is pleased to provide the initial funding to launch this initiative, and we are hopeful that it becomes a helpful resource for HCC students,” said Linda Marshall, advisor to SFFEA.

To contribute to HCC’s Textbook Lending Library to ensure that this important resource continues for HCC students in need, please contact Kristy Jelenik at or call 203-332-5078.

Students interested in registering for continuing and professional education courses should visit or call 203-332-5057. Most classes begin February, 2021.

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