IHYC and United Way of Central Iowa have partnered to offer the Post-secondary Education Retention Program (PSERP), a program that assists young adults (ages 18-25) in successfully completing their post-secondary education goals. This includes an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or certificate of completion from a trade program.

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To help ensure participant success, PSERP offers six key components:

  • Case management to address the needs of participants
  • A monthly stipend for attending classes, completing assignments, and maintaining a budget
  • Mentors and/or tutors to provide individual support in the participant’s field of interest
  • Financial planning and coaching
  • Job searching, job shadowing, and internship assistance
  • Community involvement: participating in clubs, volunteering, and engaging in community events


PSERP is a community-based approach designed to provide support to youth who are working to overcome adversity. Individuals eligible for PSERP include those who:

  • Are 18-25 years old
  • Have obtained a high school diploma or HiSET
  • Have never before attended college and/or are the first in their family to attend college
  • Are classified within a low income bracket, are currently experiencing homelessness, or are at-risk of homelessness
  • Are open and willing to receive guidance and academic support for a commitment of two years or more


Youth interested in participating in PSERP are required to submit an application, provide two letters of support, and answer two essay questions. Qualified applicants are contacted for an interview, at which time a copy of school transcripts or proof of HiSET completion is required.

Applications are available here or at our Youth Opportunity Center at 612 Locust St. Des Moines, IA 50309.


Apply Here

For more information, call or email Mark Core at MCore@yss.org or call 515-313-6431.

Reach out today!

Please feel free to contact us with questions or for more information. If your request is urgent in nature, we request you contact us by phone at 515.233.3141.